The Structure

for Daniel Owen

why is it so different to hear you describe to me

rather than to experience on my own

young girls possessed by the spirits of the structure

the marriage between the old woman and the fairy

it happened but nobody really wonders why

they just watch the possession take place

and say it’s over when it’s over

the way they treat the poets is the same way

they treat the forest

get it out of here, exports, expunged

the way she talks to the cleaning woman

I need to turn into a cicada

let the cat play with me on the floor

confused by my shell and unwillingness to die

how I learned not to believe

in choice as it had been presented to me

freedom or chance too are more blurry

we need more words or less

I have a shadow imagination just

below this one, I’ll show you

the cat can jump out of the window

but isn’t strong enough to get back in

we let her in, begin again

either you love me or you love me or

don’t let me in, the structure falls apart

one scattered rock you describe

as a witness to its own wreckage

the structure seeking its revenge

for having been ignored or misunderstood

just like I am confused by my aliveness

as it exists in the valley between volcanoes

as it exists beside you on the porch

volcanoes are like time in that way

I need a break from thinking I am just one being

we like your other theory more

the one where the seasons are

a place that language invented for us

and the word class came from

the word tower which came from a

physical reality of which, we pause to reflect,

is it all just power seeking power?

I’m just glad to be here to hear you say it

the structure is a flower upside down

the structure holds three cups and a bowl

a snake with so many faces and

what does the structure use

the snake for what do any of us

do in the face of writing I was a school

I made my bed, I walked out

I believed we could create our own

ideas of what has value

we could admit we live in the world, yes,

but we could turn it on its head too

couldn’t we?

it’s hard not to notice

the girl we call shy cat

is a reference to a story

people tell when they want

to remember their histories

I can tell just by looking

the earth will traumatize the people

with its massive movements

shifting in its shape just a little

is every stir, every rise and fall

a kind of revenge

for having been too long ignored?

for having been thought immobile?

I like living in the question

I don’t believe in days or years

perhaps revenge is simply a surfacing

of what was always there

how is your day? as if it were mine

the complexity a reciprocity

do you know that word?

shy cat laughs

she likes to smile, they say pointing

at me, I’ve learned a lot

from joy and contentment

I would tell you if I knew

how to keep going

a remarkable sound coming

from just outside the door

I am still trying to identify

what was the low hanging fruit?

can I show you? what a weapon is

red and white candy stripes

against a blue rusted gate

the low hanging fruit is confused

for the birds, the birds are

confused for the sky, the sky

is confused for the structure

a flower falls from my head, my hair

is it okay? to jump into the fire

to imagine there is something salvageable

to rescue it and then throw it back in

to read you this poem

you shouldn’t listen to me

is it okay to read you this poem



Anna Gurton-Wachter is a writer, editor and archivist. Her first full length book, Utopia Pipe Dream Memory, was published recently by Ugly Duckling Presse. She is the author of six chapbooks including Mother of All (above/ground press), Spring Bomb (dancing girl press), and The Abundance Chamber Works Alone (essay press). Recent work is available or forthcoming from peach magazine, a) glimpse) of), social text, verse, and the poetry society of america. Anna is 1/3 of doublecross press, a small poetry chapbook micropress, she puts people’s poems online at counterpoetry dot com and she has been a curator for the Segue Reading Series in NY. For more info visit /


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