The Span of My Attention

Jane Rosenberg LaForge

The men who groom the beach before dawn
socialize with the pebbles, the finitely small,
the grayness that echoes the call of silk worms,
arguments over the most awesome guitarist,
and the nightmares of cartographers. There are
no references one can draw, when one gives nothing
but interviews, flirting with the enigmatic and the bizarre.
In my junior year my roommate wanted to map the west
coast. He thought he'd take a helicopter piloted by Francis
Gary Powers. They'd swoop and glide over fossils and nubile
river beds. For this reason alone he abstained from the more
aggrieved substances, although like in war there were cracks
and thaws in his commitment. But if there were no war,
there'd be no conversations: in the dorm, outside the student
union, between my parents when it counted. Instead the
television, the talk shows where the men smoked like virgin              
boilers, would have to hold court. When I took my mother to the beach
so many years after, she was interested only in her soap operas.
When it comes for me, I want to be collected not like sand, but
like corn husks, lined with autumn. I want to be set back to the
stage when my dreams were diminutive: when I dreamed of
bicycles and who was first in flight; I knew the difference
between dreams and theater, responsibilities and errands;
dying in a SRO hotel, or in an ecstasy of rock n roll blather.



Jane Rosenberg LaForge lives in New York City and writes poetry, fiction, and literary scholarship. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Makeout Creek, The Burnside Review, Noun Vs. Verb and the Ottawa Arts Review. She is the author, most recently, of "The Civil Death of Mrs. Hedges and the Dilemma of Double Consciousness'' in The Western Journal of Black Studies.