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Em Glass Sep 8
Why is there so much sugar
in cake? Why do we never notice
mosquitoes on our skin
until it's too late? How do some
butterflies travel farther
than some birds? How
have you not heard me?

How come an eagle always
soars overhead the minute
my camera dies? How come
it's so easy to lie?

How can the lake look so much
like an ocean, but I
always just look like me?

A cloudy sky offers so much
more than a clear one--
more texture, more tough.
There's not much salt in
Lake Michigan, but
there's probably some, right?
That's gotta be true?

I'm sorry I like you.
scientists ask more questions than they answer.
Em Glass Aug 28
In a land without hills
there are as many bicycles
as people.
There is a synagogue
with a steeple.
For every boy on a swing
there swings a man
on a pendulum,
explaining Illinois to you
like he invented it.
Em Glass Jun 17
All week
they have been predicting
thunder storms.
Each day I checked
the news and grabbed
my raincoat
off the hook
on the back of the door
before walking through.
Outside the flash
of every turning car’s
headlight shoots
the gun that starts
the race—
my heart is off.
All week
when a squirrel snaps
a twig I cringe
and tuck my ears
into the collar
of my jacket
but there is no boom.
There are only clouds
and humidity.
All week
I’ve been waiting
for the sky to crack.
I’ve been
waiting for a heart
attack that’s worth
my while.
I am not ready
to breathe
the moisture in the air
but hang my coat
up dry.
To realize I
am not excited
to see you.
But there is no boom.
I am just the fool
who covered her ears
for nothing.
Em Glass Apr 28
Listen—sometimes I forget
where to put the x's on checks.
I still pat my empty pocket
with the hand not holding
the keys.
I am still relieved
to see the butter knife
                             cantilevered
on the edge of the sink
when I get home.
Somehow I thought
in the depths of my day
that the crows
would have gotten
to it by now.

I am still practicing personhood.
I am still finding my own way
to pack a suitcase:
roll the t-shirts,
stacked close-packed
like lumber, then folded
flat the sweaters
alternating like bricks
in the most efficient
way to maximize permutations.
Why aren't clothes ever
just clothes? The problem
is the answer: people grow.

I can count to thirty to nudge
my breath back onto the tracks
but I still can't yet know that
falling in love is not falling asleep—
you don't get there by pretending.

Think of the moment
you realize you'll miss
someone when she leaves.
Imagine stacking packages
onto the conveyor belt
at the store when you tap
your pocket and feel
the memory of your
wallet waiting on the counter.
Do you refill your cart
and shuffle retrograde
through the aisles,
watching your feet,
putting everything back?
Do you look up at
the cashier and just ask?
I am still learning
what to do with you.
I am still laying down the track.
I am gripping
the edge with my toes
                     while leaning over—
Em Glass Mar 11
Seven miles it took
until I wasn’t thinking about you
for a moment, until I shook
with something other than tears
and stared with something other
than apathy.
Love and hate, respectively.
They cycle as they spin, like
the light and the shadow through
the spokes of my tires.
My feet are getting smaller,
or the pedals bigger–either way,
they don't fit.

I miss you, but I don’t
wish you were here.
I can only breathe
in the shadows of trees,
but I know how you idolize the sea.
What can I say?
I run for my heart,
it hurts my knees.

I know you like your water in
ebbs and flows,
ebbs and flows,
sea lions basking in the rhythm
of the shallows.
But what about the gorges?
The rivers, the rush
that always moves forward,
hawks soaring with their eyes
on the prize, and the prize
is dappled in light
through the leaves,
and the leaves crunch
like words that have become orders,
and the orders soften as the snow falls,
and the snow melts as the birds call,
and the birds sing as the seasons complete the ring
I had in my shopping cart for months but never
ordered?

What about that?

Seven miles in, none of it
has gone away.
All the ice has melted
into the lake and there are still no waves
because the wind is blowing, flowing,
spilling away from the shore.
A gale to bring water to the eyes,
to sweep gulls of course
but with the waves
heading away from the shore
the surface looks smooth.
Imagine that.
I’m getting over you.
Em Glass Mar 9
In my dreams there are smoke
detectors and crashes and lies.
There is a kiss in an atrium right
before it catches fire. There is placate,
stay straight, evacuate.
Neodymium nitrate always smells
a certain way and always looks
a certain blue. Why does an alarm
go off after I dream I've kissed you,
but never if you kiss me?
What doesn't my brain want me to see?
As Orion slinks into view
I stand mixing solvents at the centrifuge.
There is always a healthy dose
of things I don't know. Always something
for Orion to pin with her next arrow.
If I am not here, asking questions of the world,
demanding answers from what I put
into test tubes,
the next thing could be you.
grad school, am i right
Em Glass Jan 29
None of this over, no, not
start, not twiddle your thumbs
lined up for take off.
We only want the beginning
of the middle. To wake up
on a Saturday morning
instead of Sunday or whatever
the other options--maybe

she sees you back, wouldn't that
be nicer than standing
dripping de-icing fluid
on the tarmac,
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