is the mother tongue.

Can you colonize rejection   
by phrasing your request,
                                       “Me want?”

Song: “I’m not a baby.   
         Wa, Wa, Wa.

         I’m not a baby.   
         Wa, Wa, Wa.

         I’m crazy   
         like you.”

The “you”
in the heart of   
molecule and ridicule.

Marks resembling   
the holes

in dead leaves
define the thing (moth wing).

That flutter
of indifference,

But if lapses   
are the dens

strategy aims   
to conceal,

then you don’t know   
what you’re asking.

Rae Armantrout, “Attention” from Veil: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2001 by Rae Armantrout. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.
Source: Veil: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2001)
More Poems by Rae Armantrout