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Elizabeth Cantwell


A bird runs into a window

Enter: A woman (who looks
like me) staring at the patterns
on a Persian rug __Enter: A stagehand, carrying a

The woman tapes black
construction paper over the mirror When she stares
at the rug and then back at the blacked-
out mirror, neon ghosts of
paisley fractals squirm

A bird runs into a window &
I watch It strikes its beak with its
own beak

Previously Entered: Maurice Blanchot

Maurice Blanchot stands by a desk lamp
in the corner & notes: __It is striking that at
this very moment, when the cadaverous presence

Enter: the woman (who is me) staring at
the reflected patterns on her face__ Enter: the television
projecting a woman (who is not me) staring at
a family photograph and saying
___________& I didn’t

Maurice Blanchot scratches
his head __He writes: __when the cadaverous

presence is the presence
of the unknown before us, the mourned deceased
begins to

A bird runs into a window & I
watch & call it by its cadaver name

Enter: the woman, the woman, the philosopher, the
bird __They hold mirrors in front

of their faces __They stretch out
their arms __They will never accidentally crash

How else would you touch that othered
___________the mourned deceased begins
___________to resemble himself

(It strikes its arm with its
own arm __It makes a palindrome out of all
its eyes __It lies
in this mirror-plated coffin & talks
of regurgitated worms __I

Exit: me

Elizabeth Cantwell lives in Los Angeles, where she is earning her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. Her poems have recently appeared in such publications as PANK, The Los Angeles Review, La Petite Zine, Indiana Review, and Matter. Her first book, Nights I Let The Tiger Get You, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press.