Unsafe Place


People who’re there already, who don’t know they’re anywhere, but clustered and streaming in a place       and then
caring outside the whole setting, which someone else lets in. All around some disrepair, feelings that never leave
feelings—       some pressure from that. Saying colors        of blue-green, concern for ways of anciently putting
back together and having a whole cornered, as men might punch each other on the sidewalk.         Waking for a
dispossessed code that fastens to anything and so again            possessed,          an animation every morning.

Sometimes it bleeds blue-green and stains it—        not the real moon but the battered moon signaling continuous
and easy among the profane.
Other times it bleeds,       don’t go             or         why don’t you look?

I misjudge in description the nearness of giving in, giving out, giving—           the outward direction of giving. So close it’s
hard to dispatch myself away in the glittering foundational institute, counting no ways to. Every earthly
unprecedented situation    and washes to wash to wash, branded in anticipation.             For security, I held up my hands. I
meant to meet you but never found you.

This world, that we love, and designating parking spaces for homeless to sleep in. I know how to impoverish
someone until they forget how to care for themselves—      until they can’t. I know how to wash            and
wash            and wash,           all the rules of doing in a lifetime, how they’re pinned outward and inward to me.

Standing and undoing, I know,      standing and undoing, some          standing water, stand off’s undoing, what
water,        and what water stands, all this standing undone.

The pieces produced in the yardland stretch tight over a frame, producing tension to slam loud enough in the blown
wind—  and are the guidelines, when that’s senseless, and the tatters we are.       People who’re there already, and I
admit      the heaping artifacts in real time     and something else out there on the other side.

Laboring and flapping       what we hang on, how a dog goes, and more in attendance, in high and low. They stream
and make everything stream, all so accidental, the same up close.            In the fine detail I could not get used to, I
see the steam coming off you, I see you in the rocking of fragile units       and of TV light, of the unspeakable
positions I’ve asked you to inhabit.


Sara Gilmore is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She holds an MFA in Comparative Literature–Translation, out of which came her translation of Antonio Gamoneda’s book-length poem Descripción de la mentira. This year she serves as managing editor for the Iowa Prison Writing Project.