after an abecedarian by Léa Taranto
after the deluge, there’s the quiet. one colour
blue, an eyeless blank sky where i once felt your mind
close over my own like water in water.
death was a circle i broke when i surfaced,
emptiness splintering down on my shoulders — light
falls all over me, not passing though.
get me out of myself. open a window.
hell is better than nonexistence, and
i don’t trust me as my only witness.
jettison me back to swim in infinity. something
knew me. now i’m matter. washed on dry
land, just breathing. just breath.
make me an equation that leaves
no remainder. solve for coincidence,
order me differently, clicking the pearls, the
plastic, the minutes, all that i’ve felt
quantified by a system. merciless. limitless.
read my mind, then burn it.
solve me, one part of a perfect theory. not this
terror that nothing knows me. this terror nothing knows.
undo this world with no absolutes, with no absolution. all
vectors solved. what is the space between atom and atom?
what is the space between my mind and yours? if y = 0,
x cannot be known. if y = you, you are not an answer.
you set me down, not swimming, not drowning. to float,
zeno’s arrow, this constant reaching the closest i can come
Madelaine Caritas Longman is the author of The Danger Model (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019), which was longlisted for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry and received the Quebec University First Book Prize. Her work has appeared in Room, Prism, Grain, long con, Lemon Hound and elsewhere, been nominated for the Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize, and shortlisted for Prism‘s creative nonfiction contest. She lives in Tio’tia:ke (Montreal).