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A poem from Helen Townsend

How We Know Things
by Helen Townsend

It is strange to see the sky dismantled
and lowered toward the ground.
Pieces of fictional sky in the real sky,
each billboard chunk hangs from a cord.
As I imagine a blue topaz dangling
from the thinnest of white gold chains,
that’s when I make eye contact with you
And I wonder
are eyes eyes
Yours like green glass held up to the sun
Perhaps you see a green sea of milk,
a turtle floating there with a universe on its back

is grief grief
Did you howl
in the corner of the orchard
the day you understood divorce
means Daddy is leaving
Like I did in the shower
the day I left my Dad’s
prostate-ridden body in a bed
someone would too quickly clean
for another old man to die in

is wonder wonder
Did you delight in the exquisite
taste of a pumpernickel bagel
the day after your first time with love
and are you convinced
this new space in your body
is big enough to hold many worlds,
to carry truth everybody can see

Bio: Helen Townsend lives in Indianapolis. “One of my favorite things is sitting down to write or revise, and when I look at the clock, hours have gone by. Everyone who writes or makes art or has a great conversation has experienced that. It feels like a glimpse of eternity.”