By Hanae Jonas

I watched my old life go by like television.

Slopes of grass whipping against bright blue skies,

Objects some called tools

And others, totems.

A woodpile, a sheepskin,

Garlic curing from the rafters;

A river’s loose slaps upon slabs of warm rock.

“Secret spot” read the caption disseminated

Online. Coy copy. Cool

Said the flatlanders

Whose ranks I’d effectively joined.

While those I left drifted closer to one another

Or God, to the sources

Of life itself: children and dirt. Unkept

By the present tense, I was distant

In my watching,

An existence I too tendered stagily

As free. Like television,

I was buying

Whatever was for sale

As the appraisers said You don’t seem like you’re from there.

But I simmered in the grid

Of there’s off-the-grid life: the flowing virtue

Of verdant surfaces,

The cemented-down conclusion

That meaning must be near.

The siren song soft focus of my own

Slushy memories reenacted

By someone else.

Good enough I brushed their expiration from my view.

I watched the endless plot

Of daily benedictions over the land.

The land—


Any of you could feel

You were alive in its popular image.

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