William Aarnes


Just as somewhere
there’s someone who never skis
but feels he’s slipping through life
because he’s attached to the word

       somewhere far inland someone
has adopted bathygraphy
as her own--

         in part as the word
to rely on in truck-heavy traffic
or during those ever more frequent meetings
with the new supervisor
who crowds too close
or for the half-hour of her Sunday visits
with her silenced mother
in that suffocating room.

It was the sound
that she liked at first--
that, indeed, distracted her
from making sure of its meaning.
Then the kiss of it whispered--
so breathy—across her lips.
But now she repeats it in her head
mostly because it’s the word--
bathygraphy bathygraphy--
that helps her trust
that, maybe, there’s some difference
between her brain and mind.

William Aarnes has two collections of poems--Learning to Dance (1991) and Predicaments (2001)--both published by Ninety-Six Press. His poems have been published by such magazines as Poetry, FIELD, Seneca Review, The Literary Review, and anti-poetry. Recent poems have appeared online at Sunset and Silencers, Umbrella, and nth position.

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