Poetry 2011 / Volume 42

Oklahoma Two-Part Poem — John Thornburg

1.           RE: Television

the actress that plays the high school student on TV
is actually 24, you can tell sometimes on the corners
of her mouth when she laughs.

hours add up as sediment layers
my jeans canyon into pockets
and stairs, Linda has a blueprint
to build a star drive warp-engine.

“time dilates as the speed
of light approaches,” she says
and so do her pupils as we carve a blind spot
through starless gaps of space
no one sees our brake lights

On the spaceship’s living room coffee table
Linda makes eyes out of dimes and hair-ties
she says, “I don’t wanna live trying
to convince my body not to die.”

2.          RE: Rebirth

when my body dies,
my atoms and Linda’s atoms
do-si-do to folk ballads
at a honky-tonk

with a dance floor the shape of the shadow
of Oklahoma, a sun-surface
of hardwood floors

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