Rick Barot


And what part of his reflection will tell me who I am,

that I am standing a little away, wanting in on his story?


Days I am cup, slice, gray, need, therapy.  The headache

of the repetition of his voice, telling himself some story.


I am in the city looking for him, forcibly drawn to

the square glass eyes.  A light is on in the hundredth story.


The street black as an eel, the wavering look of him

inside a puddle.  I play lamp-post to the dark of this story.


The one who sets fire to half the state while setting fire

to letters in the forest.  Let her be part of this story.


I am myself in lace, rubber things, oil on every bit of

my body, whip-talk.  He loves only the mirror’s story.


A pistol, a knife, plastic tubing, plastic trash bags, spray

gun, a wig, a brick of cash.  These are the start of a story.


The one who wrote the letters to begin with, his flawed

love like violets in her hand.  Let him be in the story.


Later, the weasels and the otters coming to the stream

to pull up the roots, husked like onions.  Eating his story.


Staring into his winter face, lips blue as Krishna because

of his winter face.  No one ever got this piece of the story.


I get to be the woods, quiet just under the tongue-tied

lightning, the ever-responding thunder.  Bleak with story.



“Echo” is from the collection Want (Sarabande Books, 2008).