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Elliot Page Wore A Green Carnation To The 2021 Met Gala
Through the windowpane, the partygoers make faces at me while I try to show
a mirrorlonely boy that, though the end might come quicker for us since we’re poets
it’s the same ending everyone who’s ever lived has received.
It’s how we push our endurance, our effort towards a dailiness of feeling, that shapes us.
We are each of us the yet-unknown answer to someone’s long-held hypothesis about the world.
I’ve lost the ability to be automatic. Maybe this makes me too slow
to hang with the real poets or the people who’ve mastered sex (you can’t be both).
I think it means my hand has forgotten how to shape language
but the problems of the fingers are so often ignored for the problems of the brain
or the heart which, until full, still adheres to avalanche mechanics.
What I really want to tell you is I still feel a lick of fear at my neck going
up the stairs at night in the dark, as if some monster might be right behind me.
What I really want to say to you—what don’t I?
I am a contortionist of feelings, I am another word for mirror.
I didn’t have the knack for faith like I didn’t have the knack for sex, though I love
tarnished chains on a person’s favorite necklace they wear so much it burns copper-dull.
A coworker told me I have Dolly Parton mystique since I always wear long sleeves.
Thanks, I grew this body dysmorphia myself.
Watching the reactionary pander to typical nonbelievers, the gods poured molten gold
down the throats of their followers and enemies alike. Start over, start again with new blood.
My body is not always an easy place to be, but it’s where I live.
Victory is the intangible from which we draw the material.
I’ve garlanded a thousand laurel wreaths to give a thousand victors.
I’ve been through a thousand cities and each of them was worse for its walls.
Laws the universe put in place so long ago it forgot what they’re for are lost to us, like:
anything bad can happen to anyone good. There’s really no way to avoid
praise, that oldest of tricks we play on ourselves till even the gods are fooled.
And nobody mentioned his flower. All anyone could talk about was how badly his tux fit.
During the creation of grief
God pulled a comet from the sky
named it Bearable
& lodged it in the chest of every person
who’s ever loved another person
through death. That is, the history
of humankind. I made
a pilgrimage to the end
the Earth promised & found not an edge
but a gate. A small stone held it open
for visitors—that’s heaven’s secret:
once you come & see you can’t
get back that way again.
The thing is, God loves misnomers
as he loves us enough
to fill our lives
with pain. Bearable?
Who in the face of such loss
has not crumpled to the ground
an imploding star, a universe
collapsing with theories & bargains?
I’ve bartered with every power there is.
How divinity loves to see us beg.
A bell diminishes in a steeple.
At the monument to perdition
a woman bounces a baby in her arms
in the eye of a storm.
Overhead, the sky weeps a field of comets.
Each new way to lose someone
is another way to love someone.
Kindred, kindling to the comet tail,
wherever I turn I see
doppelgӓngers of your light, visitor.
I have run out of room for more faces.
Poems are squeezed from me
by some instinctual pulper
without regard to
divinity’s formal limits;
no lyric, though, exists
which can replace.
So, build another. That’s why
we have more bridges than dams.
As I flew from one love to another
the river of my home below me
snaked through the city-lit blackness
a winding sheet of dark glass.
I looked into its body & saw the night.
I recognized you in its eternal leaving.
I have room in me for the faces of rivers.
I have room in me, come & see. You can
get back that way again, visitor.
I have left the gate open just for you.
Sage received their MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College of California. Their poems appear in North American Review, The Rumpus, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Penn Review, Foglifter, and elsewhere. They live in Kansas.