Back to Issue Ten.

Mise En Abyme

BY SAM ROSS

 

If the bottle rests to my left, I am beginning.  
If the bottle lies on the floor, shattered, I am still 

just beginning. When I arrive at night I won’t  
see the lake until morning. If I arrive  

at the house in the dark, all day I’ve been thinking 
how could I change into someone else. Metamorphosis

is the innards of my bag strewn across the table: 
paperclips, bottle caps, receipts and receipts. 

If I buy American, a flashlight lies within reach 
when I enter the switched-off house—but I don’t

buy American; there is no flashlight, no gas, 
no way to steep tea before I fall into bed. I sleep
  
until morning warms the lake, dip a toe in, swim,
shower. In the fogged mirror, if I comb my hair

to the other side everyone thinks I have changed.
This lake is big enough to hold several small islands, 

each with its own lake. If I spend nights here
clasping my hands, stirring miso, scrubbing mold, 

it’s because I live to watch these things delicately
merge, scatter, and reassemble. 

 

 

Ross 10

Sam Ross lives in New York City. His poems have appeared in Tin House, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Guernica, and elsewhere. He is the co-editor of Circumference, a journal of poetry in translation.