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Ander Monson

Ander Monson is the author of The Available World: Poems (Sarabande Books, 2010).

By This Poet

3

Detail of My Sort of Light

Now I know that everything is a body, 
so even the snow and the sand and 
the blood rivered down in the snow, 
and snowed on again so it's buried
is a body. All things are bodies in photos—
detail of the left side of a breast and the arm's
pit—detail of the sled slumbered under 
by the storm's leavings. Detail of my sort 
of so-early half-lit eyelid light that bodies
are near to invisible and touch is no longer
the sole way of knowing, and outline is all 
that there is. Detail of your body as it does 
its morning leaving thing. Detail of what 
light there is on your skin. Detail of land-
scape of let me in please and coffee, warm
when the weather's action on this body is less
than ideal. Landscape with pear. Landscape 
with weather and part of a breast in the frame.

Salt

It covers everything, a glossy January rind
along tires. Sunny days have brought it out,
burned away the ice, left 
the calcified tidelines to gloat
on the hoods and sun-warm trunks 
of cars queued up along the curb,
parking close as they can get
to each other, to the raised 
sidewalk that’s buried
beneath the dirt crust next to the neon-lit
sign for the funeral home.
 
The body of the boy we knew is still 
inside, the cheeks teased 
back to cheery life with rouge.
 
The ice on the canal
the faulty floor through which he descended
blazing on the back of his Arctic Cat
is black as slate
which means it’s thin
and boys on the shore
throw aimless stones that yield
ricochets with laser sounds.
 
The outdoor rink is bare, festooned
with bits of the Canadian flag
fragments of the maple leaf
glistening starlike after storm.

Saw You There

"Carrie says I should make my connections into a poem." —Dennis Etzel Jr.
Sawed you there, through you there, girl whom I name
Carrie, shine of sun on bonnet-handle at that Walgreens 
on 28th. A Friday night. It looked like you came straight
from fighting something that looked like lightning.

You were all scorched up. Tired look but with a residue
of glow, not in the family way, as they used to say, 
and as I still do, since I venerate the old, but filled 
to the heart with stars. Looking light years away, the way

you operated that Redbox: how can a girl seem so far 
from Earth while at a Redbox? I was the girl in the super-
looking supermarket hat, with ashen face and hair of flax,
heart of gold and such. You didn't see me staring, not seeing

much of anything. Magician seeking magician's assistant, 
my craigslist ad would say: I will saw through you any day.