Acting

By MARGOT SCHLIPP

The crowds are a loaded pincushion
that pricks me as I lean into
the human tide. The rotunda’s marble

smells like forgotten marigolds
left to dry under fluorescent tubes.
Chris Cooper visits the AWP book fair

and for a moment everyone vaporizes—
everyone’s body seems to dematerialize—and all
that’s left are glossy, artsy covers and a hushed

suspension of subscription spiels.
But my daughters can’t be quiet. They want
to tell Mr. Cooper they loved his movie October Sky.

They want to explain how much they understand.
They want him to know they know
who he is so he’ll know who they are.

What he wants to know
is whether they liked The Muppets
(which they did), and then everyone’s bodies

rematerialize exactly where they’d been before.
The trick of time performs itself. We stand
in a hall of dark mirrors staring

at the reflections of other people
where we, ourselves, should be. Then no one
says anything or sees anything. It is a coup

of kindness unfolding. The tables gossip
and chitter in language all their own. They steal
our happiest souls. They regenerate from the tiniest

of roots. The editors dine on despair, and their journals
will swarm toward our houses four times
a year if we promise to act entertained.

 

 

Margot Schilpp was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1962. She is the author of three volumes of poetry: Civil Twilight , Laws of My Nature, and The World’s Last Night.

Emma CroweActing

Related Posts

Image of girl standing next to car

Offerings

JANE WONG
Over and over, I dig thin flower stems into the earth, as if mending a hole in an old shirt. The earth buckles at my persistence. I imagine the worms, deep in the ground, ducking each stem in slow, pink frenzy. The flowers are from Safeway along Route—dip-dyed daisy petals in blue and pink food coloring.

castle

Repeater

SIOBHAN LEDDY
There are many English towns just like it: rural, obscenely sentimentalized, a place where fox hunting enjoys popular support, but immigration does not.

corn crib vertical pic

Elegy to the Farm Where I Grew Up

MARY ALICE HOSTETTER
From the road I can see the wash house between the house and barn. Its chipped and peeling brown shingles matched those on the sprawling farmhouse nearby. In the wash house we boiled lye soap in the big iron kettle, taking turns stirring, careful not to splash.