Whatever I care for, someone else loves it
more, deserves it more: the doe with her
whole mouth crushing the phlox or the seer
who adores my future, whereas I could
take it or leave it. I know I’ll disappear.
It won’t be glamorous. It won’t be like when
the Mona Lisa was stolen and the tourists all
lined up to pay their respects at the empty
spot on the wall of the Louvre.
I’ve never actually even seen the sky.
I’ve only ever seen effluents, seen wattage.
The only night I remember is the dinner
of neighbors at which a man I never
had met before said I don’t fear dying—
look at the past, people have been dying forever, and—
then he stopped and shook his head—
I drank too much. I was almost saying
that people have died forever and all
of them survived, but of course—he made
a hard laugh—God, of course they didn’t survive.
From Hard Child. Copyright © 2017 by Natalie Shapero. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.