The Archive Is All in Present Tense and Other Poems


The Archive Is All in
Present Tense

Librarians turn slender shadows in the afternoon light
gathering materials along the ledge. Three men exit
a Jeep on a hillside, doors slam in unison. Two orphans
walk into a dance for soldiers. Wind winters down
from the north. Concertina wire unspools
like fat loops of cursive, I’ve always wanted
a boyfriend like you,
language making it impossible
for her to love me back, though no one could love
me now, preoccupied as I am by war, paging
arrest records, letters, diaries, clippings
in their acid-free envelopes. I sort through tea lights,
radio crackles, paper fortune-tellers predicting the man
who will marry you, what house he will buy
you, paper turning to snow in her hands
folding, unfolding.

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