The lamp in the borrowed room said, “This Is It!”
We meant otherwise, and the room said no this is it.
There are ways to code intensity on the brain like a map,
like the lamp placed in the kiln, so it could say it
to us. In those rooms unheated and rooms with a fire,
there was an alarm clock going off. I didn’t notice. He said it
Let’s make it
across the river before the bridge falls.
We did. Not frightened by the halo it
gave me, I cracked open the length of my name
to match how long it
would take you to reach me.
The blank moon of a period shortened it.
Each letter a trap door. Like a letter carrier, I found the message
on a torn business envelope. I’d reached for anything when it
that space inside the envelope. It
was sent before I finished. I meant I wish I could join you.
I touch our conversation, it
all disappears. My mother asks, would Lauren Bacall behave
this way? Would she carry on about it?
I say, Ma, this is what happens. This is what happens every time
Schopenhauer uses the Will and I misread it
Lauren Hilger is the author of Lady Be Good (CCM, 2016). Named a Nadya Aisenberg Fellow in poetry from the MacDowell Colony, she has also received fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has appeared in BOMB, Harvard Review online, Kenyon Review online, Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. She serves as a poetry editor for No Tokens.
“Ceramic Lamp with Cursive Message” first appeared in BOMB Magazine.
Look for new work from Lauren Hilger in TLR: Chemistry, the all-poetry issue, available now.