ITINERARY (NEW COLOSSUS)
One dream I have is the voice of the statue is gunfire.
Mother calls, the landlord calls—the line is silent.
I watch myself decompose in the mirror a minute.
I check for bites. I check nothing’s left of the oats.
I wait for a word to appear in my alphabet soup.
My friends swoop down like owls and fly into the wall.
Tell me what I owe, and screech, and fly into the wall.
I wash myself and think how mother dressed a wound.
I dress myself and think how father cleaned a fish.
Heidegger tells me three dangers threaten thinking:
one I call liberty, one I call oats, one I call what I owe.
Soon the landlord will come and admire my soot.
His heaps, he wonders, which of his heaps will he bless?
His hand inside my hand is like holding a handful
of poppies, or a handkerchief a child dipped in milk.
When I leave I’ll count the women without children.
If I don’t I’ll count their children’s broken guns.
The train to work will stall beneath the river.
I’ll try not to say how close the end of self comes:
like a handful of poppies, or the bowl they rest in,
or the water filling them both—each possesses
nothing the water coming through the window won’t.
Soon I have a dream I take the city down with me.
I strike the name of my company from the building.
A friend writes the word wisteria and disappears.
The elevator falls a story—I use this word god.
A man I’ve met introduces himself and collapses.
Soon the bees forget. Soon the colony collapses.
I tell one of the workers to tell me how she works.
How I work is my business, she says, and collapses.
Home I undress how my father rinses an apple.
I rinse my mouth how my mother undresses a man.
The play I see is the man playing me collapses.
The woman I see is the voice of a gun when it backfires.
One dream I have is you visit me, Emma Lazarus.
One must bless his heaps is all you’ll tell me.
One I call colony, one I call soon, one I call what collapses.
By Danniel Schoonebeek
Danniel Schoonebeek’s first book of poems, American Barricade, is out now from YesYes Books. A chapbook, Family Album, is also available from Poor Claudia. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, Tin House, Boston Review, Fence, BOMB, Indiana Review, Guernica, jubilat, Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. He writes a column on poetry for The American Reader, hosts the Hatchet Job reading series, and edits the PEN Poetry Series.
* This poem originally appeared in Maggy, a Literary Journal
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