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OFFICIAL SELECTION OF RACHEL RABBIT WHITE

Jewish poem


My body touches itself at all times

Becoming aware of that inescapable being here

That kaleidoscopes the world

Down to each keyframe

Of a gesture slowly picked through

By the brain I carry

Like the blackening blue draggling

Wallet I was given for my Bat Mitzvah

And haven’t been able to get rid of

For over a decade


I lost it on the train

And it was found

By some Australian tourists

I had to get it back from their earnest hotel

Above a steakhouse that was sinister

From inside the street’s rain


I lost it again while cramping at Walgreens

And it was found

By a lady who found me

Living on her block

Thanks to my conspicuous last name

It will always be found


I tried to buy a wallet less

Oily-looking and awkward

In the way it could be held

(Typically stroked

With one finger like a reptile

I need to check on in my pocket

Every two minutes

It has a mind of its own

And represents to me never-ending

Disappointment with the state

Of affairs) and I tried to be careful


But immediately dislocated the new wallet

While drinking a cup of borscht

It’s now probably pressing up against someone’s leg

Through the spackled cotton guts of a pocket

I hope it is getting used

And is not just staring

At the bottom of another piece

Of pointless material for all eternity

In a silent pile up

In a hulking landfill


I stared at my smug old wallet

I filled its wide crumby mouth

With fresh little rectangles

I felt funny and doomed

And I have carried it obediently since then


Grace


Everything is every love

Of mirrors

Of letters

The other person

The definitive

Hearing of a song

While not looking at

A neck

I’m sure I remember

Reconciling

My taking turned inward

But then came a salve

Like me

Deemed unholy

I bore myself

Like that

If earnest

I can trap it

And wonder

When I hope you do



Emma Seely-Katz has a book Yellowing (Lost Alphabet) available now. Recently, they've been writing an adversarial fashion blog called Human Repeller.
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