I was born ready for beetles. I take time in the repository to learn that. Gain a new skill, woodwork
or crochet. Canoe across gallons of chlorinated blue. Learn a dead language. Defeat
the tennis ball machine. Is every restricted section special or is that only in the movies. I sneak
around without a pass. There is a way to stand at one end of the hall to align the bulbs in the ceiling.
One bright light and four halos that widen with distance. I widen with distance. My ribs expand
to collect air. I learned in voice class, singing opera. I do not sing that way anymore. The man
with glasses who shoplifts from the market says there’s a woman who sings from a deep soulful
place. I wonder where that is and stand in the lunch line. Chicken parts shaped as prehistoric
creatures. I carry my tray back to the library. Sadness widens with distance. It is how the dinosaurs
died. We call it comet love. I carry sadness in my book bag, pony notebooks in my crossed arms.
I want to know how to say the wrong tree will find you when you are not looking. I learn
the German. The English comes out: “The plant is a terribly blind watch.” I didn’t mean to call you
that. That comet loved those dinosaurs hard. These people don’t mean anything to me in the way
most people don’t. I wander the stacks, find a bouquet of rolled magazines. I call for flies.
Look for a place to hide lost return slips. I want to look fine when someone peels back my face
for demonstrative purposes. It’s why I wear all this on the outside.
Gina Keicher holds an MFA from Syracuse University. She is an Associate Editor for Black Lawrence Press. Her work has appeared in Barrelhouse for Dark Sky Magazine, DIAGRAM, H_NGM_N, ILK, Jellyfish, Ninth Letter, and Paper Darts. She lives with her husband in Ithaca, New York.