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.

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