She could find reason
anywhere if she looked
for it. The clock told her
to get up. She got up. She ate.
The plot is the one thing we know,
Irritation gave way
to something else. She steered
her mind to the side street, inside,
where what some call untidiness.
What some call connections.
Reason wasn’t the hinge
on which memory swung.
A truism escapes its cage.
A bark brings you back to it. You are
who you are.
We're right now, said the tick to the tock.
The self was one
of many. The knave
was the man down the block.
She could find meaning
in the metaphor of a missing knife.
She was cold. She reached for her coat.
I’ve never seen anyone
like you. The truism was true. That will do.
Jasper Johns, "In Memory of My Feelings—
Frank O’Hara," Oil on canvas with objects, 1961
ContributorMary Jo Bang
Mary Jo Bang is the author of seven collections of poems. She teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.