Volume 5: DISAPPEARANCE

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Page Hill Starzinger, "Erasure"

Page Hill Starzinger

Erasure

At the edge where the word body stops:
it is poor because I ignore
it. Fail to attach the safety harness,
thinking instead of some tricked-up set piece:
North by Northwest—Eve slips and clings,
Thornhill grabs her hand. The bad man
grinds his shoe into the other. The couple,
saved only by the marksman—.

You’ve been living, she says, as if you don’t
really count
. Cerebral minimalism comes to mind.
As if, in your psychology, there is no acknowledgement
of the future
. The Overhand Bend knot (a.k.a. Euro
Death Knot) joins two splayed ropes. The bitter
ends emerge on the same side: it is prone
to catastrophic failure. Also used for shopping tag-
strings. Swapper Day reads the sign on the highway

to the gorge. The trouble is overdue: count
the characters. Crossed-wedded silt and shale,
as if cemented, the streambed forces water down,
carving Black Hand sandstone—fluvial sediment,
clasts of the underlying—and plunges,
legend has it, to Hades. Hanging from the lip,
young hemlocks dangle from webs of roots, like dream-
catchers. Tall fissured pines spread Medusa-roots

back from the edge. I wonder what it’s like to hear them fall.
They are falling now
, you say, all the time. In the movie
everyone chases an object with no relation to the plot.
As if pursuing something else is truer than accepting
what’s here. Erasure—from arace—first meant uproot. Just
give me my thigh bone, my ragged teeth, and cut off
my hair: I’ll weave a tear-shaped charm to filter
what grows in our darkest earth. Night. Fury. Claws.

_____

Page Hill Starzinger lives in downtown Manhattan and is creative director for copy at Aveda. Her poems have been published in Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, The Kenyon Review, The Laurel Review, Pleiades, TriQuarterly, and are forthcoming in Literary Imagination, Subtropics and Volt. Mary Jo Bang selected her manuscript,
UNSHELTER, for the 2008 Noemi Press chapbook prize.

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