Allyson Paty

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INDEX

Finite, the weight of water
in the glass I fill from the tap
& the length of pipe
it traveled to get here. All instances
in which a person has raised
a vessel to his mouth & drunk.
The hands that have touched
this particular glass—me & my guests
& the cashier who stuffed it with paper
when I bought it & made it mine.
Someone arranged the shelf display
& before that, the freight & the factory
& the heat in the furnace
& the volume of sand it took
& so on,
beyond what I know to imagine.
I go to sleep with one hand (yours)
on my thigh. Some amount of light,
some occasions of street noise.
The number of hours
I have dedicated, will dedicate
to evaluating the shapes & textures of me
goes untold. In life, I will speak
a number of words, read a number of pages
pulped from particular but unknown trees
in mills forever on the opposite side of a river.

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MISE EN SCÈNE

In a sunburned time
I wait in the curb
the traffic breathes on me
I take the heat
personally
in an age when there is no need
to synchronize
our clocks by hand
the scene is time
as uniform as water
in a wading pool
at the end of a parking lot
I reach toilets pay phones
a mailbox an ATM
what is it a person needs
to recover strength & journey
when everything
is a plot point fully measurable
at the end of two identical hours
I re-board the bus & count
row house after row house
painted two shades of beige

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