I’m looking up at the ceiling of the Hungarian State Opera House,

pondering the merits of non-existence. It’s difficult to say what

the body would do after this unbearable afternoon, beholden,

not unlike the head of a gorgon. Having been found wanting.

Wisteria crawling up a white wall. A plastic snake covered in snow.

I’m feeling alien within myself. That’s one way of saying that

no one else will sit in this chair, not like this. Is that what being alone

feels like? Or is it the image of an afterimage held firmly in the dark?

Eric Stiefel is a poet living in St. Louis, Missouri, where he currently serves as fellow in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis.

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