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September 8, 2016 | Poetry

The Agency of the Universe and Everything In It

Geoff Bouvier

The Agency of the Universe and Everything In It photo

When I was two, I closed my eyes and turned invisible. Three, I learned to read my leavings, drawing fleeting signs inside the bowl where I was told. At six, I squinted up at stars and saw the girl who carries wheat. Seven, they said, “God,” and I said, “What isn’t God?” Eleven, I found futures in the pink and purplish guts of fish. By twelve, I read out fortunes from the folds of my shar-pei’s face. Thirteen, studied divination by coagulation of cheese, though I could never do it. At fourteen, I wrote in ejaculate. “Cursive with my body,” I called it, tracing enjoyment. Fifteen, I desired love, and love drew closer, and I dreaded death, and death was warded off.

That’s when I began to wash my hands before I’d touch a thing. I put on underpants and pants and socks and shirts in the same sequence every day, and have to take off shirts and socks and pants and underpants the reverse way. I started making lists, and double checking lists, and making lists of lists I’ve made and have to make. If I open jars by pushing and twisting, I lament for the neglected procedures, such as popping with a spoon, or tapping on the side of the counter, or running hot water over. Or if I bring a knife to an apple, and slice it, or peel it, then I think I should have bitten it. Or if I bake a chicken, then I bet it would taste better fried. Because I know that if I strive to consider how to perform the right actions in the proper orders, then the Agency of the Universe and Everything In It will train me as a special agent. This is my calling. I am absolutely sure of it.

 

image: Aaron Burch


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