And As In Alice

Alice cannot be in the poem, she says, because
She’s only a metaphor for childhood
And a poem is a metaphor already
So we’d only have a metaphor

Inside a metaphor. Don’t you see?
They all nod. They see. Except for the girl
With her head in the rabbit hole.
From this vantage,
Her bum looks like the flattened backside

Of a black and white panda. She actually has one
In the crook of her arm.
Of course it’s stuffed and not living.
Who would dare hold a real bear so near the outer ear?
She’s wondering what possible harm might come to her
If she fell all the way down the dark she’s looking through.
Would strange creatures sing songs
Where odd syllables came to a sibilant end at the end.
Perhaps the sounds would be a form
Of light hissing. Like when a walrus blows air
Through two fractured front teeth. Perhaps it would take
The form of a snake. But if a snake, it would need a tree.
Could she grow one from seed? Could one make a cat?
Make it sit on a branch and fade away again
The moment you told it that the rude noise it was hearing was rational
Thought with an axe beating on the forest door.

—Mary Jo Bang

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More from @ZeeshanJaanam

8 Aug
Landscape With the Fall of Icarus

How could I have failed you like this?
The narrator asks
The object. The object is a box
Of ashes. How could I not have saved you,
A boy made of bone and blood. A boy
Made of a mind. Of years. A hand
And paint on canvas.

Mary Jo Bang
A marble carving.
How can I not reach where you are
And pull you back. How can I be
And you not. You’re forever on the platform
Seeing the pattern of the train door closing.
Then the silver streak of me leaving.
What train was it? The number six.
What day was it? Wednesday.
We had both admired the miniature mosaics
Stuck on the wall of the Met.
That car should be forever sealed in amber.
That dolorous day should be forever
Embedded in amber.
Read 4 tweets

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