Poem: Suzanne Wise

Entering The Archive

The sun’s light glazed the way in—
electric, unctuous oozing of dust and glory.

The one-way tinted glass abetting the light—the light
heated and slung, slopped and barbed, coiled

and uncoiling, bladed and slicing
below the radar, behind the back

log, past the red flag, at the front
of the front of the rant—hot enough

to take your clothes off—said the suit.
I want to help in any way I can but I am very

limited, said the suit with the face
licked away by the light—the light

bursting out of his nameplate, his clip
board, his metallic pocket square, the metal

girding his pens and microphone.
I wouldn’t have come if I were you.

Some were let in, some were escorted past
the luminous halo that noosed them together.

Each in line handed over their laminated papers.
The suit punched numbers into a device.

The suit nodded in time with the rhyme
of the poem scrolling down the monitor.

The suit laughed and hit delete.
Hot enough to take your poems off.

Barking barked out over the sound system.
The suit laughed as if he understood

barking. Hours passed. The suit slept on his gun.
Then jerked awake, head tipped to listen

to the coil in his ear. He aimed
at the next one in line, finger pressing

the button on the camera.
It spit out the slick white ATM-like slip:

gray lips stretched into a grin, 
black sunglasses,
white face, white-blond hair leaching bleached

aura to the edges. The anointed one dunked her image
and barcode into a metal slot.

The plastic gates parted and she passed

deep into the property.



Suzanne Wise is the author of the poetry collection The Kingdom of the Subjunctive (Alice James Books) and the chapbooks The Blur Model (Belladonna*) and Talking Cure (Red Glass Books). Her poems have also been published in the anthology Resist Much, Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance, as well as the journals The Awl, The Bennington Review, BOMB, Bone Bouquet, Cura, Green Mountains Review, Guernica, Ploughshares, Quaint and Touch the Donkey, among many others. She lives in New York City.

Image: Geir Friestad via Flickr (cc).

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