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Kiss/Hierarchy
by Alexandra van de Kamp

Dear A—

Dear apple, dear angina,
dear after-thought, here is
another day that is not in August.
I write a friend who lives
in Berlin (not a city with an a
in it) and she doesn’t respond. I think
of all the strasses in Berlin, all the cafés
with their sterling silver spoons and white,
weighted cups. Where does a city
actually end? Where does New York exactly
give way to the suburbs and stone-scattered
fields surrounding it? Once, walking across
Spain, I took note of how the pavement
gradually increased as we approached
the city’s gates. Dear pashmina, dear
vintage year, it is so melodramatically green
this spring, I feel like I’m suffocating: insects
hatching eggs in the trees, the rain
dark as ink, the garden furniture stained
in cinematic regret. Where’s Gatsby
the summer my mother was an extra
in the film? Newport mansions
oozing afternoon light, roses clipped
to the precise parting of lips. She wasn’t allowed
to get a tan. Once the film was released,
I looked for her in a large party scene. Wearing a yellow,
lamp-shade dress, she was seated at a table,
barely visible through the dancing legs
of Redford and Mia Farrow.
Do plots end like cities, a little fed up
with themselves? But then some cities
are rosaries of tension. Dear abacus,
dear anxiety, thank god I am not
the boy in the Borges short story
who can never forget anything—his body
teetering on stone walls, his mind
tallying and tallying.

 
 
 
 

 

 
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