Because It's Friday ...

... and this, from the latest issue of Poetry, is awesome:


As If 

By J. Allyn Rosser 

How do you explain why elephants 
appear to move their unwieldy hulks 
with greater dignity than most humans do 
in their finest moments, 
as if they had evolved beyond wanting 
anything but what they have? 
Why does the field begin to ripple 
before the wind arrives in whispers, 
as if there were a communication, 
as if the landscape were poorly dubbed, 
and we weren't expected to notice? 
What butterfly does not dart away from us 
as if it could sense our latent cruelties, 
and yet return to check and double-check? 
Has the night not gotten recently darker, 
as if to insinuate that we have squandered 
the light that was there? 
Have we made too much of our own? 
And did you notice afterward the dawn 
opening up with a tentative eagerness 
as if there were something crucial to illumine, 
as if we would wake up early just to see it? 
I imagine you reading this now 
with an expression of quiet trouble 
itself troubled by currents of hope, 
as if you imagined me here with you, 
as if I might be able to see your expression, 
and at least answer it with mine.

There's a technique here that I can't name. It's similar to what Frank O'Hara does in "The Day Lady Day Died", or really what Zooey Deschanel does in "Sentimental Heart." It is like the payload of the piece is all on the back end. 

So you're cruising along, having a nice time and then--"I imagine you reading this now..." and it's like, "Oh, we're doing this?" And the artist is like "Yeah babe, we really are. It's you and me. This is a real thing." Love that.

Enjoy your weekend.
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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