To drive north, alone, toward the ghost
of the Laurentide Icesheet retreating
through boreal forests, the long miles
without my knowing—I’m looking
for that small collision
between molecules that causes
a change in direction. Dear friends, I’m worried
cruelty has become
our primary interface with clarity. Even last night
at the bar, poems hung up in the dank air,
laundry that will never dry.
In the poet’s j’accuse, je m’accuse, the language
went on dreaming.
I understand her avowal: to have one thing,
she must keep giving something else away.
One summer, I played a record until the needle broke.
Suddenly, news of Patriot Missiles, chemical weapons,
a friend’s statistical mistake.
Every night, a boy I wasn’t really sleeping with
called while laugh tracks kept the hours.
Then, was it still possible for things to be done,
and sometimes undone, unseen?
In the museum of the future, is today’s day and age already
a marvel of cautionary pain?
Are we, too, in the thick of it, taking fun
to new levels, thinking outside
the wooden box?
If force is the thing that turns us into objects,
I have been blunted.
If hope is a signal, at least we are connected
by the density of radio towers. Sometimes, I aspire
to the consciousness of an iPhone, a tablet,
any inanimate object, the conduit we love
though the text diminishes.
Jessica Murray is a poet and educator living in Denton, TX. Recent poems of hers are featured in or forthcoming from Barrow Street, Berkeley Poetry Review, Guide to Kulchur, Memorious, Painted Bride Quarterly, Shenandoah, Sixth Finch, and Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology. Her website, www.if-you-want-to.com, features linked interviews with contemporary women poets.