Beth Gordon: Self-Reference

                            White Lies, by Mary Hatch, 1999, oil on canvas, 48” x 60”



The poet eats ice cream in the rain, a culmination of swagger gone awry.
Glassy-eyed deadheads offer him henna tattoos, hemp oil massages,
he accepts. A white expanse appears, fog rising from the frozen lake,
a deer is dead.

The poet pretends he lived in Montana as a child, watched tumbleweeds
from his bedroom window, wondered what would be said at his future
funeral. He burned his esophagus on hot grits. A hole appears, he climbs
through it, unnoticed.

The poet wants a fiery skyscraper, the last line to resemble the first.
I forgot you lived in Montana, says the hippie, as if it were true, as if
she believed. The oil penetrates his skin, he trembles, now she will know
I am a fraud.

Beth Gordon

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