from L'HEURE BLEUE, OR THE JUDY POEMS
A walk helps a little, a pause
where I am moving
and other things stay the same,
or have less distinguishing detail.
The sky in this mood is more
supple. Not quality of life,
but quality of suffering.
Just to say “I suffer” helps.
A dog rubs its heavy black body
against my thigh,
thrusts its head between my legs.
I hate this automatic shame.
I hate when dogs look like people.
A woman calls to the dog
I have no name to call back.
I could know him, and like him,
like liner notes to a jazz album.
But liking doesn’t lead to love.
You switch to a different axis.
A self-indulgent misery
is best, a cathartic performance
I perform myself.
I read that happy people have
an inaccurate sense of time. The descent
as slow falling. The dead
don’t get any more dead.
When remembering him,
I’m never lonely.
Elisa Gabbert is the author of The Self Unstable and The French Exit. Her next book, L'Heure Bleue, or The Judy Poems, will be out next year from Black Ocean.
These poems originally appeared in Phoebe.