You are thirty-eight Michigans away from me,
thirty-eight wolverine states into your cups
in the sky, because being dead is like being
profoundly tanked, profound as an empty silo,
with your thoughts and your arms and your
credit cards ignoring you, just eyes, eyes, and behind
those eyes nothing, or the sky, or the smell of manure,
or thirty-eight Michigans of black, bloated ice.
One Michigan is bigger by far than a football field,
and two or ten is one of those I’m a man who needs
no woman type of motorcycle trips and fifteen is all the
old routes of tea or silk or spice or Trans-Siberian
misery rolled; but thirty-eight is the size of the space where Oh,
I need to call you, though laying hands upon
the phone I am repelled by a forcefield of practicality,
grasping at the incongruities of the calendar year and my
desire and your non-existence. Thirty-eight Michigans away
you are no doubt somewhere or other, balking at being,
polishing off a sandwich made of rare, impossible air.
You are as likely as the apocalypse. I can almost hear
you on my radio, the cracks in your voice of clay.
I summon up photos of our planet as seen from
invented places like e.g. the moon and it looks
like a Rubik’s cube. Peel off the stickers and
solve the black plastic beneath. Solve this blank
sheet of aluminium. Solve this anteater.
Yes, I recommend walking in the rain,
sluicing in the lake, howling at the shadow
of the moon behind the moon. Say Go long
before you throw long. Say Heads. Give the
dead more than their due. Yes, I recommend
cutting and running. Can you hear me, thirty-eight
Michigans down the line? Go long.
By Eva H.D., winner of the 2015 Montreal International Poetry Prize.