Who Needs a Map of the Friction When the Lightning Looks Like a Plan?: Three poems by Emily Pettit

[Over the next few days WOLF will feature the fastidious and fascinating collaborators behind the Whenever We Feel Like It reading series, Emily Pettit and Michelle Taransky. Today, beginning with Emily. Tomorrow, Michelle. Tomorrow tomorrow, Michellily/Emichelle.]


This time there is an entire dead bird

body to remove. Give me your documents,

I want to know a whole lot of things

about things I know nothing about.

Somewhere there are monkeys

who speak with their hands. Mostly

they discuss food. Sometimes birds.

The monkeys say (sign), The swans

displease us. A love affair ending poorly

between a submarine and a satellite

displeases me. That the monkeys may fight

shouldn’t displease anyone. Shouldn’t surprise

anyone. Who needs a map of the friction

when the lightning looks like a plan?

Who needs to know why the airplanes go

or the trees sway? I want to know why

the weather changed when the door killed

the cricket. I want to know why it’s peeping

that floods the air when we are waiting.

I want to know why I’m not whispering this

in your ear. Why it is that you can’t hear me.


I say, I am trying to know your elephant.
I offer blinks. What stays

in your head long eternal?
Again with over the cliff.

Someone made off with the lake.
Think important. Think somebody.

The future. Abruptly. You a dialog
in me. An issue of control.

Think a disappearing act.
Something counting for something.

Arresting recognition.
This is what I want.

I say, This is all of what I have, this hand
shadow of a stethoscope taking a pulse.

I say, Information crash.
And, Thank you.


A room full of many silent people breathing

loudly looks like either a dove or a worm.

I was watching this rabbit not watch me

when the whale was dropped. It was dripping

and had became too difficult to hold. Like the sky,

I know little about the anatomy of a whale.

Unlike the sky, I will research the anatomy

of a whale. I will confirm, as the sky cannot,

that the fluke is a term for the tail-end

of a whale. Then, like a fool, I will likely determine

that the whale looks like a room full of many

silent people breathing loudly. A dove or a worm.

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