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May 26, 2020 Poetry

The Many Panics of This Century

Ansley Clark

The Many Panics of This Century photo

Deep inside some problem of self-perception

a face believes very much in its own importance

charges its electronics often   

when a face finally alights upon

the desired object it buys all of it

to have too much of many good things

to know that everything can be undone

this is how a small life can be as prepared as possible

hoarded goods    a kettle of rusted water

to secure against winter’s lightlessness

or what if again long travel approaches

on highways wedged/pressed

between hot machines    the brown dust on fire

to which a human face can respond like

a scared domestic thing or like

a crazier animal

for what if it cannot be returned

for what if the direction can’t be taken back



image: Aaron Burch