What the Lyric Is

The wrong words sit beside us
Where the flesh is heavy.
The right words come most easily
To those who sleep.
I put my boots in a CVS bag
Because the weather demanded it
And my jacket over
The windshield in the morning
To confuse the sun.
Of mine own life, I'll tell you
One thing the internet
Won't tell you—I wear my hair
Like a woman sometimes.
The project of the snow's
To put the sky in lo-fi
And the memory of last week's
Snow's a gash in the air.
The mountains and seas
Have a queer look about them.
A hoax of golden daffodils
Obscures them, you might say.
I've been told
We should pretend
That everything we see is real,
That images should try
As best they can
To come to life. I feel that iron
Should take the place of snow
In the literature
And that silk flowers
Should be manufactured like
Real ones each spring.
I'm reading the letters
Of distinguished men to you.
A broadside of a bad poem
On very good paper.
A treatise on how to infuse
Brandy with plums. My fat ass
Surveys the greensward
And when I step
In the manner befitting a person
Of little station in the world
The dandelions seem to
Vanish in retrospect
As though to die were just
To overlook the rituals
That accompany
The death and life of weeds
And to fold oneself
Back into one's roots.
I am so big
I mean my ass is so big
I can't fit in this room I'm building.
My ass can barely fit
Without assistance
Through the door of this stanza
Which is why I invented
The pronoun "you." The streetlamps
Seemed to you to want to
Break apart the clouds
So we left the city, are always
In the process
Of abandoning a city
Somewhere. Some days now
You'll find us trolling
The hillsides for wildflowers.
Other times, sitting at the very center
Of our garden, googling "beauty"
With the filter off.

Sara Nicholson, "What the Lyric Is" from What the Lyric Is. Copyright © 2016 by Sara Nicholson. Reprinted by permission of The Song Cave.
Source: What the Lyric Is (The Song Cave, 2016)
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