Ave, Materia

by Jean Hartig

selected by Fanny Howe



The material was loose at first, and the dimensions
only three or four, with time in there.
Bolts were shelved
            concert, cringe, elegant, strolling.
From far off, the collection
resembled little more than a cast of birds.

Now Isobel. The first time the universe
like a classmate's polyamorous bedroom
winked to her solitary spool of consciousness,
the woolen radio washing over
my poster bed, lead feather trilled
her name. Except it was backwards,
eviscerated and from behind.
                                           Bliss, o.

The knit closed in. Taught didn't mean
lessen. More room, in fact, for the fray
and selvage running along the edges like

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