Devotion

By ELIZABETH SCANLON

 

Your mother is a creep.
Everyone’s mother is a creep;
we have envelopes of your teeth in our bedside drawers,
clippings of your hair. We check your browser history.
Listen to your footsteps in the night back and forth to the bathroom,
listen even harder if you’re in there too long.
The self is a recent construct, relatively;
a hundred years ago there were far fewer
ways to say mine. Your clothes we sniff.
Try to guess what you want for dinner,
what you had for lunch.
In the I and Thou model, all meaning stems from relationships,
the other the stand-in for the God, who is always absent.
We try to take your picture when you’re not looking.
Every thing we warn you about,
we are.

 

[Purchase Issue 21 here.]

 

Elizabeth Scanlon is the editor of The American Poetry Review. She is the author of Lonesome Gnosis, The Brain Is Not the United States (The Brain Is the Ocean), and Odd Regard.

Devotion

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