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/dani smotrich-barr

Essay On Conjugation

It started with a question, curving punctuation. It started with the thought of whittled wood.                     Or by looking for a hollow place to put a penny.

Why does the poem want to assume the form that it does? M had asked me some years back. I can’t figure it out, even now. Tend to hide in clauses. How do you know, I asked him, how

to listen to some resonance behind the syllables that might breathily give rise

to a body?

I had tried. Had studied Latin. In that language you had to shimmer tenses to find the buried desires lingering at the edge of the word.

I could only feel the forms of the poems by accident and M asked, but is there a way to get there on purpose, always?

(Get to. That other, hallucinated body.)          (I said no. Impossible.)

I wanted to name the space between feeling fragile and being hallowed out. The hull before conjugation. I wanted to say indestructible. To hold a word like that in my chest. Find the core’s twin-child, some other try at a form long lost. Impossible.

Dani Smotrich-Barr grew up in Michigan and recently graduated from Wesleyan University. They have work published or forthcoming in DIALOGIST, Vagabond City, Ghost City Review, giallo and elsewhere.

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