Two Poems | Lisa Fishman | Granta

Two Poems

Lisa Fishman


Sometimes she thought that circles and lines are not there, in any blade of grass or eye.
she formed a line in relation to the O she was running behind and pushing. She was in the video (Joan Jonas, 1973) and in the film (Chaplin, 1915) and then she was in bed a morning very cold with sun and frost and touched the curtains wet with condensation where they meet the sill, as if to track the molecules’ expansion: frost to water droplets on the glass that spread to small pools on the sill. The wood absorbs the water, sunlight dries the wood, the wood is worn from all this going on each morning every winter since the house was built.

The forehead receives the sun, a way of repeating. Having been observed to change (now some heat and light through glass have hit the upper portion of her head), the circles’ lines are not exactly as they were; the angles turn. A face holds still.






Precepts for the Invention of Speech in Our Time

That the dialogue consist solely of people asking each other what time it is.

That every sentence be presented as what someone said or is saying.

That the dialogue resemble both horsetail and nettle.

That the speakers be two, three, four or more, unless there be one speaker only.

That if there be one speaker only, the dialogue consist of the speaker asking what time it is,
back and forth of
the self.

That the sentences have the odor of sassafras, unless they have the odor of peril.

That the dialogue be wept, whispered, shouted or written.

That the speakers be not named, nor remembered.

That the speakers be not imagined.

That every sentence does and does not contradict itself.

That the dialogue consist of number and likewise of weather.

That each position in the dialogue be infinitely spacious, and that each space between positions

be finite and particular.

That the speaker has poison ivy from walking about in the dialogue.

That without shoes the speaker walks on and the dialogue too.

That every sentence be not a sentence but a plethora.

That the dialogue be contracted to the time being asked to show itself, and that neither prologue
nor epilogue be contracted to the

That the dialogue consist of what is spoken under, within, alongside, unto.

That a cricket’s lash be found in the dialogue, itself a hair’s breadth as to width and a mare’s

breath as to heat.

That every sentence be addressed.

That again.

That seldom.

That then.

Then then in a sentence point backward or forward, for as to its direction who can say?

That the dialogue be likened to an onion or an orange, to be peeled this way and that.

That the dialogue, consisting of time, have the texture of dust.

That the dust be lately deposited onto the spherical flower of milkweed from a moth’s wing.

That, concurrently, the dialogue consist of the seen.

That the speakers wish to say, in spite of what they see.

That with.


Image © palbo


Lisa Fishman

Lisa Fishman’s debut fiction collection, World Naked Bike Ride, has been released on Gaspereau Press. Her seven books of poetry include Mad World, Mad Kings, Mad Composition (Wave Books, 2020) and 24 Pages and other poems (Wave, 2015). Her work is anthologized in Best American Experimental Poetry (Omnidawn), The Ecopoetry Anthology (Trinity UP), The Arcadia Project (Ahsahta Press) and elsewhere. A PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize nominee and Pushcart nominee, Fishman divides her time between Wisconsin and Nova Scotia.

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