Elaine Equi: 3 poems: JPR 07

  Elaine Equi

  3 poems

  JPR 07

Spoiler Alert

I keep starting, but not finishing,
a poem about a werewolf.

Not sure what I want to say.

That I am one?
No, too confessional.

That it runs in my family?
Doesn’t ring a bell either.

That hair can disrupt an otherwise stable life –
go wild growing in unsuitable ways.

Maybe. Getting warmer. I keep seeing
that picture of Red Riding Hood’s grandmother,

the one where she’s wearing wire-rimmed glasses
and a lace nightcap with pointed ears sticking out.

A woodsman is supposed to have come
and split her in half with an ax.

That’s what I wanted to tell you.

There was no woodsman.

The grandmother was the wolf.

They were both the same person.

The Thing Is

What is the difference between objects and things?

Things, I think, have less personality.

These days, all objects are antiques — harken back to an era of hands handling them.

Playing cards, wooden matches, buttons, plush stuffed bears — we recognize them from the still-lifes where they once quivered.

They were — are — tools, curios, refugees from the Modernist era.

Of course, we still have these things. But now they are like us, just things.

They no longer celebrate their secret identity — the inner life once bequeathed upon even objects.

They are a bit featureless. One thing not so different from another.


I only had five pages to go until the end of the story, but it was taking forever to finish. Not because it wasn’t interesting, but because I began to suspect more words, new sentences, whole paragraphs previously not there, were surreptitiously inserting themselves right under my nose. I couldn’t prove it, but I became so convinced of the presence of this textual gremlin that I kept rereading certain passages hoping to catch it in the act, while at the same time, forgetting what was originally said, thus defeating my own purpose, and in the process, prolonging the final scene even further until it began to feel like one of those shots in a movie where a character keeps walking and walking and walking down a corridor for a very long time without getting any closer to the door. It was light when I first began to read, and now it’s dark. I’m supposed to meet someone for dinner and already I’m running late, but there are only a few more pages, and I just have to know what happens.

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