Squatter in the Foreground

—for Ann Lauterbach

We rake the past, down to an ounce of wants.
Meant to begin in haybarn dorm of overall kerchiefs,
an empire of cow sphincters on the hook by May.
I think I’ll stare at the muss to endure
all I am: nonstop strands, new dues to pay up.

Air dense with leavings, fridge hum clicks off.
Nothing on the easel, so nothing melts.
The story thus far: pair of angels swish across grass
into dim room. Wrestlers. Big mirrors, stacks of ’em.
White walls lift. An Anglo-Saxon pause for identification.

Poems by Kenward Elmslie are used by permission of The Estate of Kenward Elmslie.