Tuesday, January 17, 2017



from Because You Have No Name I Will Give You One

Diving into the well he found a quarter, two dimes, and three pennies.

I would go back for you. I would remove everything. I would add more towel racks. I would buy more toothpaste. I would raise my hand. I would check my wallet. I would do it all. I would do it over. I would do this for you.

Who are you? How can you stand there in the kitchen? Why is there a knife in your arm? What happened to your legs? I thought I knew you. I thought you would climb ladders for me. I thought you would roll in the mud with me. I thought you would fix the tv. My phone is under the couch. My computer is in the basement. I don’t know what to do.

Too many parties will get you nowhere, but an automobile will get you some place, guaranteed

She eats scones and cupcakes. She drinks tea and Coke. She eats crumpets, blackberries, Ativan. She drives on the wrong side of the road. She crosses the street funny. She walks the moors like a banshee. She demolishes the Scottish skyline. She saw a sylkie once. It had long hair and a terrible smell. She doesn’t play golf.

You are your own default. Everyone looks like you. Everyone thinks like you. You don’t see anything else.

If you skip the title the movie will still happen

She showed up. She showed up again. He threw his towel on the rack. He threw his shirt on the counter. His tie went with his socks. She took it as it was given. She didn’t ask questions. She didn’t think about it.

She carried her window everywhere. Everything she saw was on the other side. The birds are there. Their beaks open. They crowd each other out of the nest. Their poop settles slowly through the leaves.

Their words, bereft of meaning, take refuge under an awning in the rain

It moved lightly through the clearing. It shimmered in the heat. She was forced out. They found her wandering. She was the second. The first remained in the forest. Nobody wants them after that. Nobody will take them in.

What were you doing? The doll was at the bottom of the staircase. She could hear his step. She could see his pattern. She could see your face. You do what you can. You slip along the railing. He rides a turtle to the bottom. She watches indiscriminately. Her eyes turn backwards. Someone has the key. Nobody knows how to find them.


Photograph by Geraldine Dotson
Judith Roitman has most recently published in Otoliths, Eleven Eleven, Horse Less Journal, Talisman, YEW, Futures Trading, Writing Disorder, and E.Ratio. Her recent chapbooks include Slackline (Hank’s Loose Gravel Press), Furnace Mountain (Omerta), Ku: a thumb book (Airfoil Press) and Two: ghazals (Horse Less Press). Her book No Face: Selected and New Poems (First Intensity) appeared in 2008. She lives in Lawrence, KS.

1 comment:

  1. Roitman's poems demand attention, and for me detailed visual comprehension. Her precision is what sparks personal involvement in the experience of the poems. She leaves me wanting more, always.

    Lee Chapman