by Fanny Howe
On a cold day near Lake Erie
I was in a double bind.
The snow was like a lamb
Shorn in the upper circle.
Someone pushed me over the ice and stones.
Someone else chattered behind.
A rubber nipple was pressed to my lips.
Gagged and spat until my tears were milk.
Everything seemed like something else.
The number of wheels was too large
For my body to contain in a dreamm.
But the silver bar could be seen to be long
With faces beaming in reflection.
From the land of the living.
I thought I saw a flock impaled on a fence
then more clouds, god-free, overhead.
Zero and One sat on either side of me.
Was trapped in apparatus and a family
Like so many before and after.
A central contradiction, once discovered,
Leads to collapse or evolution.
The tremors in the heavens
Created weather. We all mentioned this
For years when we met
On our quest for happiness.
“1941” is from Howe’s latest book of poems, Love and I, on Graywolf Press