Corey Van Landingham is a Wallace C. Stegner Poetry Fellow at Stanford University, and the author of Antidote (Ohio State University Press). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, The Best American Poetry 2014, Kenyon Review, Ninth Letter, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.
We met among ruins. I was so much the dog, in Athens, on the grass
panting for you. In Segovia you pushed my cheek against the aqueduct
until it bled. Darling, we are such sweet modern machines when
our parts are working. Someday we won’t fall so apart, or need
our blood. I’ll project you onto a screen and feel exactly nostalgic.
Your scent will be textable, too-much. The damage I could do
with just a button. When the planets collide in their pinball trajectories,
when the panic of geese breaks up the sky like a brick through
the window, how can I not think we’re doomed. If there is a future
and I exist in it, if I built a dwelling with my own devices and
moved there alone, what then of the body. Would, at night,
it call out fevered to be the mule to some man’s lead. Would it be
yours. Or an historical site you’ll visit, with another body to press
against it, like all our atoms will someday be pressing against
each other. What hope! So give me all at once an ending
to look forward to. I want that, the groundwork, the bathtub full
of water, which, like us, is nothing without oxygen. I am nothing
much for you. I own four acres of star-thistled land in California.
It’s the perfect place to wait out an earthquake. No street names.
The water is potable. There is no one else for miles around.
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but wasn’t one day it fallen.