On a cold winter day, I squish through the streets
of Greenwich Village
until I stand before 75 1/2 Bedford Street,
the "Narrowest House"
in New York City.
Where lived the widest mind –
her words expanding like swan wings in flight
over the quarrel of water tanks
and tarpaper rooftops
endlessly arguing the city.
Clearly what ails me –
I take up too much space.
I must move to smaller and smaller rooms, crawl
into an overpriced, cubbyhole of my mind and write
crabbed on a stool.
Or maybe jack into one of those
video game follies
where the walls slowly press in
and squeeze –
a giant lemon press for poems. Or garlic.
That’s it! Smash myself
pressed like a stricken butterfly
between the pages of a dictionary.
Yes, that is how it’s done.
To grow bigger, get smaller,
Squeeze and squint and scrutinize
the margins, annotations, punctuation,
the endless inky spaces
Smaller. Swooning past atoms,
forgetting even the names
of electrons and protons.
squirting from mathematical cans.
Smaller. Past the hearse whisperer. The ferryman.
The exquisite, infinite, idiocy of nothingness.
For Shay’s Word Garden