apartment :: rae armantrout

1

The woman on the mantel,
who doesn’t much resemble me,
is holding a chainsaw
away from her body,
with a shocked smile,
while an undiscovered tumor
squats on her kidney.

2

The present
is a sentimental favorite,
with its heady mix
of grandiosity
and abjection,
truncated,
framed.

3

It’s as if I’m subletting
a friend’s apartment.
Even in the dream,
I’m trying to imagine
which friend.

And I’m trying to get
all my robes together,
robes I really own and
robes I don’t

imaginary places :: rae armantrout

Reading, we are allowed to follow someone else’s train of thought as it starts off for an imaginary place. This train has been produced for us—or rather materialized and extended until it is almost nothing like the ephemeral realizations with which we’re familiar. To see words pulled one by one into existence is to intrude on a privacy of sorts. But we are familiar with the contract between spectator and performer. Now the text isn’t a train but an actress/model who takes off her school uniform piece by piece alone with the cameraman. She’s a good girl playing at being bad, all the time knowing better. She invites us to join her in that knowledge. But this is getting us nowhere.

chirality :: rae armantrout

If I didn’t need
to do anything,
would I?

Would I oscillate
in two
or three dimensions?

Would I summon
a beholder

and change chirality
for “him”?

A massless particle
passes through the void
with no resistance.

Ask what it means
to pass through the void.

Ask how it differs
from not passing.