I take you down to the crowded room for the experiment.
We join a dancing group of girls.
“It is our good fortune that we live in this age, in this city,” I say to you.
“All you have to do is choose.”

Earlier, you looked excited about the experiment.
Your eyes were bright, you twirled your hair.
You hurried along the nighttime street with me, impatient.
You strode up the steps to the door.

Now you seem as if you’d forgotten a word.
You look down, hunting in your mind.
You do not gaze at the girls, with their tattooed skin.
You do not remember to dance.

After writing this poem, I put it through the N+7 machine at the Spoonbill Generator. Based on an invention of Jean Lescure, one of the Oulipo poets, the machine replaces each noun with the next one in the dictionary – or the next but one, or the next but two, right up to N+15.

Continue reading “Experiment”


They had grown together
like trees, trunks intertwined,
bark melting into bark.

They had been sisters
in the warm corner behind the tiled stove,
their bodies crammed into a space too small,
their hair mingling,
and their hands holding the book:

interrupting each other
and growing louder,
each other out.

Continue reading “Trees”