THE SECOND MOTION
by Elaine Cannell
In the first motion, I wrapped everything in newspaper,
emptied glass stones from the bottoms of fishbowls,
recycled the recyclables, bandaged my raw hands,
cut up ancient credit cards and plastic valuables,
braided the sheet rags, the scarves, the silk slips.
In the first motion, I was brave, I think. I was a maker.
In the first motion, I swept out the bottle shards, clapped,
cried into the soup pot. I clenched both fists.
In the first motion, I was all the things you might call
memorable, like what we put into expensive coffins.
Like what we cast in marble or frame or bleed for.
In the first motion, I shaped myself a key and used it.
In the first motion I made a few too many lists. I chewed
and I swallowed. I watered the garden. In the first motion,
I wept. In the first motion, I already said that. In the first
motion, I fell on shoelaces and down stairs. I seeped
into everyone. I stopped saying “we.” I stopped saying.
Understand? In the first motion, I moved and
I shook. I put on my shoes. I tied them. I left.
Elaine Cannell is a poet and PhD student in literary studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her poetry has previously appeared in After Hours: a journal of Chicago writing and art and 30 N. These days, most of Elaine’s writing is done in Madison coffee shops.