Elizabeth Robinson

Elizabeth Robinson is the author of the nonfiction book, On Ghosts, from Solid Objects and the poetry collections Blue Heron (Center for Literary Publishing) and Counterpart (Ahsahta Press).

from On Hearing a Respectful Disagreement between Fold and Overlap

interchange




i.

Desire takes form as different kinds of parallel.





Says nothing here.   Becomes a bridge.



A bridge seemed to all who heard it to be


a bisection. Like this: +


Somewhat like that.   Underneath itself,


it overlapped and folded.



What brought the banks or flanks in relation to each other they craved to know.





ii.

Knowing was the basis of the argument, whether


the bridge cinched the edges together  or

simply connected them, or even


illustrated how 

parallel they were.



Maybe:


whether a voice could imitate itself and overlap,


or whether it swallowed itself.




Knowledge was ascertaining how


knowledge soaked into a thirsty surface. How it could be so silent and still serve

as a voice at all.





Asking again and again what the difference is between a voice and a color.




fold




i.
Maybe the overlap was casual. Maybe it happened by chance. But



folds.



There were folds in the garment and the folds meant: body.


There is a body underneath: here.



There was a memory that had folds, corners, a sense of deliberation.



This was meant to stop time and to hold it in a place where no voice could speak.


Some bodies


do not speak. They harbor memory


as a form of knowing. They pause before their own color


and they crave it.



ii.

What could it possibly mean to harbor memory?



No one could describe what a color or a voice is until


it’s soaked into the surface that knows it.


 
But describing is not knowing.  It’s not absorbing, like



the voice into the ear, the pigment into the surface.





            They walked slowly over the bridge and then back again.


Their route was a crease in memory.  Someone later said they saw



a body folded over, a skirt in pleats moving in the air. But it was a ghost


clutching time.  Wanting to know.