A Victim of Potential

I know every detail’s important but one eluded me
as if it knew what I was going to use it for
I’m not sure if I can go back and reconstruct the intentions
that contained not knowing I didn’t know what I had

(Once I had kidney pie. A stranger baked it and sat on a bench I had left in the forest. He wasn’t waiting for me, but there I was, acting curious about the pie he was eating, so he gave me a piece. I liked it before I knew it was kidney pie, and then I didn’t like it, and then I forgot it was kidney pie, and I liked it. The stranger picked his nose with a straw. It wasn’t amusing for very long, and I wasn’t hungry anymore. There were blurry pictures of horses on the man’s hat, and then there were blurry pictures of horses in my head. The man wasn’t in my head very long, not like kidney pie was.)

because this time a tree with a sadly bent crown this time
a camera with a small brown bird inside that adjusts
the details too small to notice a tiny feathery wallow
of completion unapprehended by intention

(There’s a portable building in my driveway. Local rabbits create local sculptures of local heroes there. I drive around my driveway to get to my driveway.)

the tools of love include proximity ignorance greed revulsion boredom
the tools of hate include proximity ignorance greed revulsion boredom
the tools of change include distance knowledge desire boredom
boredom includes everything until you name it

(She carried a see-through purse with a little wooden cage built in. Her cricket slept on fresh green leaves beneath a little blue hat when she went out in the sunlight and sang contentedly when she took him to the movies. The song was so soft that when anyone noticed, they thought it was in the soundtrack. If it was too quiet in the theater before the movie started, she hummed along and brushed off the stares like cookie crumbs.)

I remember the possibility of the blanket
I remember the spilling blood claiming
a larger part of the circulating universe
I remember the troublesome detail was me

Rich Ives has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, The Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, The Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, FictionDaily and many more. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize. He is the 2012 winner of the Thin Air Creative Nonfiction Prize. His books include Light from a Small Brown Bird (poetry, Bitter Oleander Press), Sharpen (fiction chapbook, theNewerYork), The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking (What Books) and Tunneling to the Moon (hybrid, Silenced Press).

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