Was to Get It

By MATTHEW LIPPMAN 

I tried to get in touch with my inner knowledge.
Turns out I have no inner knowledge.
I used to think I did.
Could sit on a rock contemplating the frog, the river, the rotisserie chicken
and know that everything is connected to everything else.
Or, that I had a messed-up childhood and never fully left the home.
Or, that abandonment was a product of eating too much candy.
But then the dog saw the squirrel.
It was on a telephone wire and she tried to jump 20 feet in the air to get it.
That’s all she wanted to do,
was to get it.
Right now, she stands in the sun and smells the river, the rodent,
the high-quality weed wafting from the neighbor’s window.
Her black and white body glistens
and has that sheen and shimmer that horses have in the sun.
She’s not telling herself that everything is connected to everything else.
She’s just sniffing the air
as all these smells collide with all these other smells
and captivate her canine mind in stillness.
There’s no reflection—no inner knowledge—going on.
She’s just standing in the sun
about to strike out at something she’ll never be able to get a hold of.
That damn squirrel is always way too high
so she puts her nose to the ground,
walks a couple of steps, squats, and pees on the lawn.
Thatagirl, I say,
so I can go inside, pick up my book on The Kissing Bug by Daisy Hernández
and figure out what to heat up on the stove
to feed the kids.

 

Matthew Lippman is the author of six poetry collections. His book Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful was the recipient of the 2018 Levis Prize. His latest collection, We Are All Sleeping With Our Sneakers On, is out from Four Way Books this year. His website is MatthewLippmanPoetry.com.

[Purchase Issue 27 here.]

Was to Get It

Related Posts

Anna and B donned silver ponchos, lost their hands in mitts the size of hams. They adjusted their hoods, shinier, fluffier versions of the tunnel-hoods popular on winter parkas in the 1970s (Anna had a navy blue one, orange inside, from Sears).

Museum Ice (Extended Dance Mix)

AMALIA GLADHART
B had turned thirteen that fall, ready to join Anna on a trip that was part research, part treat and adventure, the first time they had left the country together, alone. A few days in Rosario (a university lecture, an interview with a playwright), the long bus to Buenos Aires.

Image of a wooded mountain range with gray clouds in the sky and green grass below.

Para-

MARY LEAUNA CHRISTENSEN
As a child, I watched horror movie after horror movie. An attempt to make myself brave or to make others think I was. And now, I fear I’m manipulative because how much can a person really change.

Headshot of author Jonë Zhitia.

Nadryw | Feeling Language

JONË ZHITIA
I never fled into exile, I was born into exile. My only home is the autobahn between Germany and Kosovo. Dissecting: Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Montenegro—depending on which route you take. None of these countries is home to me.