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



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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.