Becca Klaver

from Empire Wasted

The portal pukes me out

I roll and roll I’m breaded with gravel.

Get up dust myself off and in all the sidewalk planters, mannequins with my old outfits on, tableaux of my phases.

Say a little prayer of my heart’s desire, Mom said.

Bare knees in the cement.

I got to the other side. Not another movie set but the only place I’d ever wanted that way—moist lipped, open armed, no nostalgias clanging around in my satchel like antique tins. I didn’t miss them.

I kneel past the end of the prayer and into the sting. The city’s in my blood and my blood’s sloshed on the stone. I’ll build a world this time.

Across from Clark Street Station

Sun comes out      rain comes down
   crowd huddled under awning
   stringèd swell of 30s soundtrack
shower scatters   umbrellas bob away

   I think of Whitman            of Crane
of Anderson (Wes)   even of Pound
   First flash flood of male influence?—
31    September   Brooklyn Heights

It’s the light & the smell & the sound
      I think they’d like
graybeard     diver     dioramist    fascist
      lovers of the moving image

rise from the seats beside me   squabble
   beneath the awning      & scatter

The Shock of the New

that art it
burned me
with frayed

stick it in the socket
stick it in the socket

one of nature’s
number one

I thought I’d die
of shame
at their unhinged

their feathered

and sparking
in the armory