When I put myself inside a circle there is circumference & the wonder is God. He hides beneath a silver clothing rack but I can see
his black shoes beneath the hanging dresses. God knows I’m hiding too, behind the woolen coats & pricetags.
We want to be felt, but differently. I want to be unfolded like origami paper or like a navy dress in its perforated gift box.
God wants to be felt like tissue paper, wrapped around a new champagne glass. Someone’s hand
reaches for a dress within the rack & finds my body instead. I let her pet me like a cat. She doesn’t know
the difference, although my body makes promises about the softness of promises. God says
Let your body be itself but another woman has already pulled him from a hanger. His black shoes
dangle helplessly around her neck. God looks happy. His little fox-face ripens.
You would think we had something better to do, but we don’t.
I was saving myself. What else could I save? The surf upturning my ankles. My face drank light.
The broad smell of horse above me. What I could own I packed. Here again my poverty, riding itself.
Floating is dispossessed. What is free within me wakeful. What I want, I want because hunger dissolves me. Some hollow drinking me.
The dark counting me with its fingers.
I cannot know whether there is enough. Salt-bridled, my body keeping surfaces.
What overcomes me eventually is the water. Tin fish at my belly. Here I am a magpie, beaking silk in the nets.
Here is what its death might taste like: dark mass, drowning animal.
The decision to climb abroad. My hands in its mane. A brisk net of stars.
A house of need within. Knowing no good will come of this.
“The pyramids’ perfection became their imperfection.” — R. Rosen
This morning is a blue envelope, ungummed so that I’m a perfect letter. Turns
out no thieves removed me brick by brick in raw Egyptian wind, nothing calculated
in the false maps staggering my inclines, nothing cut, nothing uncut. The inside
outside. Only the heat, almost invisible, pulling stones away.
Like a butter colored lizard doing push-ups in the dust, knowing up, knowing down.
If even a pyramid can move in opposite directions, ousting & objecting to perfection, there is no chance this alphabet
can save me, no home in the bright morning, no safety in myself.
-- Emily Vizzo is a San Diego writer, editor and educator. She currently serves as an AME for Drunken Boat; Vizzo also volunteer with VIDA, Poetry International and Hunger Mountain. She was previously published or is forthcoming in FIELD, The Journal, Jet Fuel Review, The Normal School and North American Review. Last year one of her essays was noted in Best American Essays 2013. She earned her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and teaches yoga at the University of San Diego.