Genevieve Kaplan

Are you working

Go back to your room, and bring me
one drawing of a flower, one drawing of a boat
one with language, one determined. Also please
tell me how one could be delightful, pulled out, loosely
skeined and how each drawing
is a way to begin. Disregard that lingering “I, too…”
or “I, and…” and “don’t you see me?” to find one careful
note in the margin, one date
one pencil, one scrawl. We can both agree
to love: the soft
bay, that spring-enough
meadow, volunteer tomatoes
near the driveway, cantaloupes
from the farmers’ market, summer’s dust
in the morning air. You give up
the convenience of a walk while I turn the pages, run
one finger over leaves. I ask each word, and I hone in on
their availability
just one of something, please
as I know that sorrow is, but sorrow goes.

At one point in the dream

I admired a chain link fence in a field. It was
incandescent. It was threaded with spider floss.
Who knew what I liked or what I’d notice.
I certainly didn’t. The green behind the fence
could not withstand much, and I wanted
to ask, are you okay? Have you gotten enough rest
enough water, an aspirin if you needed it.
Have you located the drawer
near the bedside and put the danger in it for later.

Seasonal Affinity

What do you think, other in the driveway, other in the sideyard with a grasscutting machine, with a
spoon, with a broom.
If branches from the tree come down and someone says, “well, this time you’ve really hit upon
something.”
And the street is empty, but it fills with water when it rains.
These come together, somehow one image wants to eat the other, one detail actually manages to
encompass the entirety of the other.
What do you think, black feet of a bird, or dark brown feet of a bird, skitter the fence and we
clutch and we clutch and we clutch and watch the alley.
Signs of squirrels, the fallen trees, you want the view that extends vertically, that stretches
horizontally, maybe surprise yourself by starting with a window, maybe begin by ducking
between a building and a building and continuing straight on through until dilution is
achieved.

Some observations about language

Sass
and jest use sibilance similarly and repetition
can create a droning
or a warning; it can catch. At times I want
someone to see me
with unsure eyes, in disbelief.
Maybe you’d prefer not
to write the poem about your partner
dying on the job
while deployed, which is fine. But might
there be a threat
in the background? We must read
the situation with such careful
attentiveness. Startle
your children, startle your friends, fold
the self down into a flat tiny triangle
before allowing your self
to open again.
I pour
water into dishes. I lift dishes,
push dishes
in order
to create a sound.
We live
on a cul-de-sac, and the easements beyond
our sidewalks
are up for grabs. Someone
will take that empty space, and someone will fill it.

Genevieve Kaplan is the author of (aviary) (Veliz Books, 2020); In the ice house (Red Hen Press, 2011), winner of the A Room of Her Own Foundation’s poetry publication prize; and four chapbooks, most recently I exit the hallway and turn right from above/ground press. Her poems can be found in Third Coast, Spillway, Denver Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Poetry, and other journals. A poet, scholar, and book-maker, Genevieve lives in southern California. She edits the Toad Press International chapbook series, publishing contemporary translations of poetry and prose. genevievekaplan.com
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.