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John Pursley III

 [You Can Look Through These Windows—Look,

          & Not See Anything. . .]

                                    from “The Sea-Monkey Dreams”


You can look through these windows—look, & not see anything

For days at a time—stand, & stare, until the whole town vanishes


Behind its one marquee, which, just as quickly, flickers & goes out,

Proving again God’s existence & the obvious, impending failure


Of single-circuit electrical wiring. The entire world blurring white

With so much sun—assembling & reassembling—so much death


Filtering through the throat & lungs, the eyes, ears, &c.—all of it,

Constantly at motion, constantly in flux: a fixity of wave-patterns


And particles of light—wavering between two points, permanent

Only in affiliation, or through our assimilation of the thing itself,


Which isn’t difficult to do—considering the eyes’ ability to focus,

Drawing an object in, or offering-up closure . . . neither of which


Happens here, in this hotel—our hotel—overlooking the Atlantic,

But you get my point, & gather the towels, drying on the balcony,


New flip-flops popping against your heels as you cross the carpet,

A tropical scent of sunscreen & stale air circulating out into what-


Ever displacement happens there, as the door rolls forth, & back.

I am thinking of the heart—of prime & pump-handle—how we hurt


That which we cannot hold—& the very things we can, precisely 

Because we can . . . the perverse heart, the apparatus of the heart


Hardening, between liquid & solid, between gifts & the grievances

They offer us, even here, where we have chosen for our vacation


A hotel we can’t afford, a life we can’t afford; but also, can, & do.

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