What Smooth Object and other poems Part 1


What Smooth Object

— after the Swedish TV series, The Bridge, Broen, Bron

If I go missing,
send Saga Norén to find me.
She will ask all
the embarrassing questions
that spare none of my friends,
and quote the statistics
that fringe my life like a feathered hat —
my chance of remarrying less
than being struck by lightning,
my cancer recurrence wavering at 5 percent,
my income, as a divorced woman, likely low,
that my burglar alarm only deters teenagers.

I watch her question social convention,
parsing the lies into acceptably white,
or stepping beyond the barrier
of all the rules, those tiny gods
she worships, if she worships at all.

She finds all evidence sacred,
if not a little profane.
And, when every clue
to my disordered existence
seems to lead nowhere,
she will thread them together,
and still find me.

And if I ask her,
What led you across
the Oresund Bridge?
What smooth object gave you the scent
of my imperfect life — sleeping under the bridge,
its singing cables, the moon breathing,
my tattered shawl, my forsaken dress —
waiting to be found?

And, even if I ask, she may not say, but turn
away, turn toward the bridge for answers.


Passport Expired

— after the British TV series, Chasing Shadows

If I go missing,
send Sean Stone to find me.
I will become snapshots on his white board,
phone records and texts, credit ratings
and bank statements forming a pattern
of essentially boring forensics.
I will be a magic marker web
of simplicity, my movements uncomplicated
until I fade from the landscape —
into the unkempt trees on High Road,
or the maze of interchange at I-10,
my black and white video ghost
kissing the yellow line on the off ramp.

During interviews, interrogations,
hallway conversation, he is intent,
until he is not, and just walks away —
no coffee shop conversation,
no filler dialogue, just paper records
stacked and thumbed,
just tap tap tap —
keyboard on fire.

His Google search reveals:
my book is valued at $152
or maybe 47 cents;
that I may have been killed
and profiled on NBC’s Dateline
and dated Nick on The Playboy Club;
that I have appeared in scattered
bookish locations around the world,
at least digitally, as my passport expired
unused. By page six, his search
shifts from mistaken identities
into a meaningless keyword mélange,
with offers to find me for a fee.

Sean will be disappointed —
I am so habitual that cats
congregate at my door every morning.
However, I used to kiss like a storm cloud
heavy with rain, unpredictable strikes of lightning,
a delicate roll of thunder until I fell
into a swimming pool in South Dade,
feeling slightly pornographic
instead of erotic —
lost in the chlorine
and subtropical sauna of flesh.

Then six weeks later,
fell into a wedding dress
and a marriage —
an epic of habit,
with a shelf for every passion,
a jar for every angry word,
until betrayal replaces ritual
with phone hang ups
and unfamiliar lipstick,
until keening conforms
to a hollow silence
and perfects itself.

CAROL LYNNE KNIGHT is the co-director of Anhinga Press, where she edits and designs books. She graduated from the University of Miami and Florida State University. Her book of poems, Quantum Entanglement (Apalachee Press) was released in 2010. Her poetry has appeared in Louisiana Literature, Tar River Review, Earth’s Daughters, The Ledge, Slipstream, Comstock Review, Redactions, So to Speak, and other literary publications. She has exhibited her drawings, pottery, sculpture and digital images throughout the eastern United States. In other lives, she has worked as an art teacher, potter, videographer, copy writer, and graphic designer. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

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