Laura Kasischke

The Whole Point

Again today, each thing’s
busy inventing the whole
point of itself.  The sun,
whiskery with fire, burns.
The fish, predictabilities,
swim.  Downstairs, some-
one fiddles with the knob
on the radio:  Handel,
Johnny Cash, Handel,
Johnny Cash.  The oxygen
in the tank, and on
the table, the syringe.  The

tape, the gauze, the diligent
dog, barking reliably
at each passing car.  Again
and again and again.  My

son laces his
shoes in the threshold.  My
cat curls around him-
self like a breath
in a chair.  My husband
opens the door and asks,
“Anybody home?
I’m home?”  These

questions, questioning themselves.
These cells replicating themselves.
Two mirrors reflecting their
own reflections.  Or the kind
of directions so complex they
require their own directions.
The known, unknown.  I am

taken out of this photo, like
the woman who answers
the hotline to ask
why it is I want to know—

about the poisons, about
the voices—each end
of the line, my own.  Like

watching the archaeologist on
her knees, on PBS, exclaiming
in excited wonder
about my buttons and bones.

Laura Kasischke has published nine collections of poetry and nine novels. Where Now: New & Selected Poems was published in April 2017. She lives in Chelsea, Michigan.