p
o
e
m
s

I wait each night for a self.
I say the mist, I say the strange
tumble of leaves
, I say a motor
in the distance
, but I mean
a self and a self and a self.
A small cold wind
coils and uncoils in the corner
of every room. A vagrant.
In the dream
I gather my life in bundles
and stand at the edge of a field
of snow. It is a field I know
but have never seen. It is
nowhere and always new:
What about the lives
I might have lived?
As who? And who
will be accountable
for this regret I see
no way to avoid? A core,
or a husk, I need to learn
not how to speak, but from where.
Do you understand? I say
name, but I mean a conduit
from me to me
, I mean a net,
I mean an awning of stars.

Charif Shanahan is a Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University and the author of Into Each Room We Enter Without Knowing.

You Might Also Enjoy

After Rejection

Chris Stroffolino

Everyone in my photo collection Looks as if they’re saying “Don’t point that thing at me” So I screen all calls from. . .

poems

Baffler Newsletter

new email subscribers receive a digital copy of our current issue.

Further Reading