[Were it but Me that gained the Height—]

World like a coat, silver clasps,
            ermine lined, warm with the dead inside,
rolling around in the red center—I thought

everything had a purpose—this was back when
            I still drank—and wasn’t I a special
traveler, nestled in that pocket amongst the

butterscotch candies, the matchbooks?
            Unessential but accounted for, a steady
thing to touch. World like a

morning glory, withered every
            evening, world like a bristling dog,
terrified of thunder—I can’t believe

how I believed, or how that belief
            assumed a shape around my body,
taking on the imprint of my heat,

gaining solidity. When
            anyone questioned me, I held
it forth, let them touch the sleeve—I

needed nothing. World like an
            egret, still and white on the highway
divider, world like a regret

typed out and then erased—I cannot
            hold you any closer without
everyone seeing, I cannot

hold you at all, it seems, your
            evergreens, your curling potato vine;
it’s all too much much, and I a bit of

goosedown, a thistle fluff, naked and
            hatless, unaccounted for and extra,
the world like a world like a world.

Rebecca Hazelton, “[Were it but Me that gained the Height—]” from Fair Copy. Copyright © 2012 by Rebecca Hazelton. Reprinted by permission of The Ohio State University Press.
Source: Fair Copy (The Ohio State University Press, 2012)
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