Alissa Fleck


I'm tired of hearing about oral history, her field,
and her grandmother in Switzerland, a survivor.
Open-mouthed on the couch, she breathes (so much, and loud).
I think my head swirls around a Champagne glass.
I think it will rain but it won't.

I tell her there was this man. A lover of science,
turned prisoner of his devotion.
Locked in thought collectives, he wrote,
we cannot permeate one another's worlds:
in accumulating the new, we must overthrow the old.

In the afternoon she and I play tennis,
but never hear other over the echoes
in the recreation center, so we just laugh
and laugh and mishear everything.
The unraveling grip feels so soft in my hands.

I fantasize that when they come upon the scene,
our open mouths will be delicately stuck in time
the big clock's arm frozen at 3:15--
that it will smack of art.

We often lie spine to spine like knives
hastily thrown back after a wash
and when she wants to talk
she wraps her tongue around long syllables
the way one might a confusing, caustic taste.
I'm still laughing long after she's stopped.

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