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On Pattern                                                                          —Elizabeth Robinson


Absentmindedness—she thought of shaking it off herself, vaguely,
like dust or the stiffness on the skin after a swim in the sea, sentences that
trailed back and forth into each other
like the lacing of the shoe it was too tight and so
she didn’t thread the holes over the arch and recommenced the lacing just short of
the ankle so to make a thing that served all purposes,
that holding together, that gapping, that pleasure of pattern

where a pattern overtakes itself and is no more

Where in a junk shop she found the first book she’d ever read, Away We Go, and the
same plastic model, Bones of the Foot, her father had once given her: easy to
disassemble, tarsals, metatarsals, phalanges, sweet wander of boredom into sleep
and waking, was it walking where the foot is only another part of the skin and where
the light

arrives, perhaps hesitantly, from so far away and settles, seeming to belong
to the skin or the skin to it, just this, the interchangeable nature of the words
‘ambiguous’ and ‘arrival,’ as the one who hears them flips them from ear to ear like
a firefly or pest, sparking the dark,

is it a visitor or guest? she determined she would walk so far every day and no
less and then the distractions were arriving again, cushioning her heel with her
stride, softening the soft air, how the ‘they’ had eventually reduced itself to a
singular, I. like powder between the toes, away we go, without her ever
having noticed
the feet now bare

even of flesh


Elizabeth Robinson

Elizabeth Robinson is the author, most recently, of Rumor (Free Verse Editions), Blue Heron (Mountain West Poetry Series), and On Ghosts (Solid Objects) which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry. Vulnerability Index is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press in 2019. Robinson co-edited Quo Anima: innovation and spirituality in contemporary women's poetry with Jennifer Phelps. It is due out any day from University of Akron Press.

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2018