Errand Upon Which We Came


Gentle Reader, begin anywhere. Skip anything. This text
is framed
fully for the purposes of skipping. Of course,


it can
be read straight through, but this is not a better reading,
not a better life. You are being asked


to move with great
rapidity. As if it weren’t there. As if you were a frog,
a frog that since it’s disappearing


thinks to ask,
for the first time, in which element it really does
belong. Leaping progress


will consist
in considering this and closing the book. Anything
else will represent a settled course.


Indeed, it is true that much has fallen
through the cracks,
but the most painstaking and willful path


will not recover this (recoverable?)
material any better
at all than the soft ziggy sampling butterfly approach.


Gentle Reader,
who labors, who tugs up roots to get beyond roots
 —as it were—do roots entwingle


space? Where do we mine that knowledge
of what cannot be precipitous, nor yet


What if the go(o)ds refuse
to go
to market? What then?


Will is broken by the trials of all folktales, the Augean stables,
the straw spun. A nail
that fixes the center so the register is true—


what the scale hangs on,
not what
the pointer points to.

From How the Universe is Made. Copyright © 2019 by Stephanie Strickland. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Ahsahta Press.