BY CHRISTIAN ANTON GERARD
after Yehuda Amichai
Sometimes there’s no room for the third person.
Sometimes I think of artifice as if
my hummingbird heart can’t hum or slow,
so I set down my thoughts on a twig
and say “I am not I” over and over
until I’m more comfortable with not being I
so I can hide something in the third person.
I sat in the stacks imagining every voice in every book
on every shelf saying themselves out loud at the same time.
That’s how I imagine infinity and loneliness.
New York City at rush hour, Paris or Berlin.
I want so badly to separate them all out
and listen perfectly so I don’t have to be
a voice a part of anything, so rather than the third person
there will be only a guitar’s sound in the night,
not strumming, but picking out each note
in Moonlight Sonata, like a single leaf off
the willow I used to climb, responding to a single wisp
of night. Behind all this some great happiness is
hiding. And still, most nights, I sit in the dark,
knees drawn to my chest and all the words I know
dangle like ghosts I can’t grip, can’t stop gripping.