of age (early years)

       after Jeff Clark, after Michaux

[1971] Ambivalence.

[1972-1973] Low wooden table laden with persimmons, ripening. Papers are inked, then shuffled.

[1974] Bacon and eggs in pre-dawn light. Salt on the lips brings familiar pleasure in otherwise unfamiliar room.

Say the word toilet but say it wrong and then repeat it with increasing urgency.

[1975-1976] You are a china doll. Beribboned.

Introduction of foe: delivered in round-cheeked, giggling pre-formed package. Foe makes move by introducing small white teeth to tender tummy.

Oh, cruel foe!

[1977-1984] Stately sisters in musty habits parade you around the corridors. You are a plastic trophy painted gold. You are a constellation of paper stars.

[1985] At the ocean, she emerges from the telephone booth with a grim expression.

At home, his closets are emptied, the doors hanging open. Two wire hangers on the rack and a dime on the floor, which you hide in your mouth until nightfall.

[1986-1989] Some bleeding.

[1992-1993] In the concrete-walled boxes that enclose your days, April, flaxen-haired, ascends the throne of A., your beloved.

You skulk the hallways immodestly. You perfume your hair.

It is not uncommon to find you wailing in your bed.

[1994] Limited pomp. Much circumstance.

[1995-1998] The man who walks beside Mother down the hospital corridors as she shuffles in her slippers then walks beside you as you exit the cathedral.

But first, burial in a sea of stone. But first, you drive to the thrift store with six plastic trash bags that contain the last of her things.

Trapped wind in the hallway of your apartment building is a death rattle.

Trapped bird throws itself against glass for hours before breaking, then falling.

[1999] The sun is high and hot in front of the courthouse. Walk back to the office with a thick sheaf of papers in an envelope. Before leaving, he asks: Would you like to share a sandwich?

It is the eve of the new millennium. You are afraid of your machines.