crowded Monday subway its       mindlessness botanical     
you take the first seat claim it        for your age your figural       
effaced your t-shirt smelling        already like somebody

else’s sweat a toddler is       crashing against your leg his     
mom gives him a sucker he       hasn’t figured out how to     
fit inside his mouth you taste      the instant’s sumptuous pause

between confused and choking      on surfaces you can’t fit      
your lips around and swallow       incentivizing short terms      
that electronically       spit you out your genes passed on

without you in the pool you     
didn’t know how soon would drown     


Copyright © 2015 by Rusty Morrison. Used with permission of the author.

About this Poem

“I started working in a tightly constrained form because I wanted to write about a desire to escape limits. But I didn’t want to just write about frustrating limitation, I wanted to live inside limitation in the work and then see how I handled it. I wanted event, not aftermath. Ann Lauterbach points out that the ‘convergence of subject matter with form releases content.’ I’m finding that this form (seven-syllable segments paired in tercets, no punctuation) creates a contentiousness in my use of syntax that forces me to diverge from my more expected trajectories of thought, and thus exposes a content with more contextual resources than I’d had access to.”
Rusty Morrison