You know that feeling of not knowing where you’re going?
It looks great on TV but not in life.
In life when physically lost, you just stand there
with a facial expression that would embarrass even the bottom of a toilet
–looking around raising eyebrow upon eyebrow.
Then you see a sign–a color really. The color of the sign
tells you that you’ve gone off in the wrong direction,
or if you were looking for trouble, the right direction.
So turn around and around to find the thing you’re looking for.
Do you need an example? Ok: blink. Now tell me what you saw
when your lids sealed/when lash batted lash.
Here we pause and taste wild dandelions.
Our senses must be evoked in conjunction with memory.
It was like…
I held buttercups up to the chins of two friends.
The yellow shadow cast onto their chins
proved that they were in love with each other.
But I didn’t eat a dandelion or a buttercup. Didn’t have to.
I remembered what they tasted like from when I’d lay in my
backyard pretending to be Huck Finn chewing a piece of grass,
a piece of whatever, cool as a cucumber waiting for airplanes
to pass loudly overhead, waited so I could pretend to be scared.
But really just waited to freak out so I could get a hug.
After that I can’t help you. You must see the color black
for yourself as deep far down as possible—past the uvula to the soul.
Walk down the lane until it ends, until you are on the outskirts.
The lane is brown; dirt from the rocks you kick
gets into your lungs and chokes you hard.
You may splay your limbs in different directions but—& despite
worst fears—you’ll never be seen as a swastika from space
in the satellite footage. It was never as bad as you thought.
One guy knew this was going to happen--
he held the sleeve of his hoodie up to his face
covering both nose and mouth.
Another friend makes sure I carry an air mask and a pill
of potassium iodide in my purse wherever I go, so I’m all good.
Amy Lawless is the author of Noctis Licentia (Black Maze Books, 2008), the chapbook Elephants in Mourning ([sic] Press, 2012), and My Dead (Octopus Books, forthcoming in 2013). She was named a 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts fellow. She lives in New York City. For more information go to amylawless.blogspot.com.