Poetry — February 21, 2012 13:37 — 0 Comments

SELF-STORAGE – Rebecca Hoogs

“Little soul little stray / little drifter / now where will you stay…”

–Hadrian, trans. W.S. Merwin


It’s unreal the way I keep returning to places
like this one, distant from where I live

and in ruins, yet where I live. In my brain,
there is a picture I took of you, picnicking

in the canopis before I caved. Such thoughts
are scattered among various collections

both public and private. In the So-Called
Gymnasium, concrete and rebar crocodiles

are modeled upon ones once marble,
modeled upon ones once flesh.

Above (my head here, your head
neither here nor there) a dome

mimics the idea of a hairdryer in an idea
of a beauty salon. So I wanted to look pretty for you,

so what. (Some years later, sitting in a coffee shop,
a firetruck named HEAVY RESCUE tore by

but did nothing to pluck from my chest
what had crushed me falling from the viaduct.)

It’s all too real how I keep myself
to myself. I have rented a self-storage unit

on the edge of a natural depression. I am
the stuff I store. So sky, keep your bolts

to yourself. If you don’t have sunshine to say,
say nothing at all. Look at the way this place

tells us almost nothing about Hadrian
and even less about Egypt which he loved

because it had killed his love. Look at
this fine example of compartmentalization:

paper wasps making a living
in the mouth of a crocodile.


Rebecca Hoogs is the author of a chapbook, Grenade, and her poems have appeared in journals such as Poetry, AGNI, and Crazy- horse. She is the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colo- ny and Artist Trust of Washington State. She won the 2010 South- east Review poetry prize for her poem “Miss Scarlett.” She received her M.F.A. in Poetry and an M.A. in English from the University of Washington. She is the Director of Education Programs and curator for the Poetry Series for Seattle Arts & Lectures.

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney