In a fever, the brain dissolves
reality, which is what we make
from language, which language makes
for us. Strange organ, the brain,
capable of imagining its own
witty, well-timed end— projecting
the unseen on its personal screen

the blood clot raining down on gray
matter, washing away my selves
like so much sidewalk chalk. Now
the subject is the object, hunted
by the self, its mad anxiety to live
and therefore to picture every

last thing, each thieving
derivative that might occur
and, in doing so, prepare, prevent—
strange thing, life, which hands us
words to often make as real
as we might like: I need three

tomatoes, someone says, and without
much fanfare, they’re there, three
ugly ripes, the split skin, butted
bottom ridges like your sister’s crooked
grin, the words’ red flesh is heavy
in your hand. Demand, supply. Poetry’s

its own disease, blurring lines
with ease, building boxes
you are sure you must escape
or stay inside for good. Plucking
ruby red tomatoes from the air.
Seeing what’s not there.


About evanduyne

I'm assistant professor of writing at Stockton University, where I'm also affiliated faculty in the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. I work on Sylvia Plath, contingent faculty, and creative writing around trauma and domestic violence.
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