November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Samantha Zighelboim / Poetry

COMPOSITION IV

When it comes to being thankful or to considering the dead:
all argument is against it; but all belief is for it.
Consider, then,
Dutch elm disease—a feisty fungus brought over on a ship
carrying
fascinating new fauna and fascinated naturalists.  It can
take down
a 200 year-old tree in a matter of months—what then? We
have more sky
once the thing is dead. All belief is for it: who doesn’t
want more sky?
All argument is against it: who wants a dead tree? Simply
put, ghosts
exceed all composition, and gratitude doesn’t deserve any.
What are we left with then? The purest cornerstone for an
IDEA.
This may resemble something like beet salad, but the only
relevant
thing is the color of beet. Nothing else could possibly
matter, and isn’t
allowed to, either. Another example may be found in the
bark of a sick tree
in Amherst. But only the bark, you see: not sickness, not
the tree, not the place.
We can apply comma splices to our sentences but all
argument is against it.
We can pretend we are paragraphs of wonder and believe
everything is for us.

 

COMPOSITION IX

How many kernels does an ear of corn have?
Guessing — in this case — is your best bet. Now
think: were we to interrogate the ear, threaten
seasonal shucking, would it eventually let itself
say: Listen, this is how this is going to be, we’re
going to diagram it and outline it as precisely
as possible and that’s the end of it. No more
of this popcorn and polenta hopefulness—corn
is corn is corn and then there is just that
and only that. Solution? Take two sentences
and make them one. CONVERGE. An example:
Hey, I haven’t seen you in a while + I still know
how you eat sweet potatoes at night might result
in: Now that you’re back, I will not forgive you.

COMPOSITION X

Reading what E.D. read before she died
is only a means to an end in this case,
a four-hoofed sentence. That’s sort of sad
for you, no? A subject and a verb — destination
and transport. — How limited must you be?
Point A:
Even rocking horses deserve
the dignity of a decent conclusion.
Point B:
Writing a conclusion is always
the easiest part, particularly for people
who have no problem abandoning.
So what’s the issue? Let’s map it out.
Cartography has advanced enough that India
ink gets to take a breather.We begin here,
end up there. Not a profoundly difficult
concept. Not a tearjerker. Get over it.|
Point C:
That saying about how if a tree
topples in the jungle, it is
the loneliest moment.
That is not how the idiom goes
and plagiarism is a serious offense—.
A bag of books and a broadside are left
behind for us and that is love, and you know
nothing about it, you idiom-wrecker, you
contortionist, you Professor.

 

DISCOURSE ON INQUIRIES INTO THE NATURE OF DISTANCE

It does not necessarily follow
that because the answers have stopped,
the questions no longer need to be asked.
That they have no desire to be asked.
You teach me to transform miles into stones-
throws and meanwhile, I wonder why space
exists at all. Any space, really—but particularly
that one which is unfilled with a reality, any space—
mine or yours, but never both. You are mute.
Eventually you say you have no answers
or that the answers are not yours to give.
This is an unsatisfying answer to a question
I didn’t ask. Which way is West? I can’t tell you
that, it depends on this variable or that variable.
But were I to point my toes West, which way
would that be? Oh, you should only point your toes
in one direction, and it should definitely not be West.
 

DISCOURSE ON PALINDROME DATES

My feelings are valid, even if they’re projections.
Still, I missed you last night and your pictures
on the wall. Across the tiny river I wished for wings
and wept when I finally knew I was a runner, not
a flyer. I knew

you knew. You’d have been proud of me. I dreamt all night
of a common
language and eggplant parmigiana and the living proof there
should be now.

Tonight I used my kitchen for the third time in ten years.
It was lonely. The cat misses you and I can’t explain
to him that you’re still here sometimes. Aren’t you?
Today, you  once told me, was a magical date — a string
of stark ones this

November — but nobody cares about palindromes anymore.
The difference between the extraordinary and the not is enormous, isn’t it.

About the poet:

Samantha Zighelboim recently received her MFA from Columbia University. Her poems, translations, and book reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in  Maggy, Thumbnail, BOMB, Rattapallax, and The People’s Poetry Project. Currently she’s working on her first collection of poems, and lives in New York City with her cat, Buddha. She teaches English and Literature at Mercy College.