Genine Lentine


You: You hold out your hand to receive it
but it spills over, your hand already full with it.
You: Face to face with it,
you tell it you’re looking for it.
You: You won’t feel it as it’s happening, but friends study
your face for what’s different, ask if you got a haircut.
You: You’ll forget it immediately,
but the interval before it happening again shortens.
You: You’ll convince yourself it’s happening when it’s not.
You: You’ll say it’s not happening when it is.
You: You’ll only recognize it happening to someone else.
Yours was stolen, you claim, and everyone you meet,
first thing you do is frisk them for it.
You: You had it once, you are prone to report,
and over and over you return to the dwindling site
to feel again the phantom limb pain.
You: When you’re “outside,” it’s “inside.”
You: When you’re “inside,” it’s “inside.”
You: You refuse to name it, but everyone turns
their heads together to you when someone asks who has it.
You: You say, I won’t talk about it. But when you do talk about it––
which is all the time–-you call it by a different name.
You don’t deserve to have it, your story goes,
but when you’re around, others say they have it.
You: You’ll go on backburning after the fire’s come through.

Genine Lentine
“Registry” is from Mr. Worthington’s Beautiful Experiments on Splashes (New Michigan Press, 2010).