Dorothea Lasky



The School


I am learning to be stubborn again, Max
A letter to Eileen
Written in the middle of winter
Or an ice block
Where I found myself
Haunted once again
Dear Eileen
I remember in a summer
Visiting you, with the dogs
And later there was ice cream
And one of the dogs bit me
But before all that I said, I want to start a school
And you smiled, good
Dear Elizabeth, you sit in a room
You are teaching me to be gold
Unbeknownst to the number 41
Where it was summer by a lake
And I said, this is it
Where in the middle of the ocean, I drowned
But then by some miracle
The one green crowning left itself for me
And the moon was bright and I could see my way backwards
To when I had jumped from the boat into the blackness
The School was supposed to be for poetry, not greed
I said to anyone, but no one cared
It’s not that people don’t care about greed
It’s that, is that so surprising
And well, don’t you have your own
Eileen, when you end a sentence with which
What should be a question mark but is a period
Well what could be better than that
A long plane ride
And then I found myself in the rain too
And I couldn’t stop it, it just kept gushing
When one thing is wet can it get more wet
I mean when you are sopping with liquid
Can you get even more
The skin keeps so much of it inside
It keeps it outside too
I knew blue
But it didn’t know me
And I am afraid of that
Dear friends that summer I grew a pair
Of anything
And I did not let myself enter a force
But I took the odious seaform
Into my bed
I said, lie down, oh vacuous one
Then I made love to that undulation
Then with what everyone said was frozen
I said was just very clean
And then with what everyone said had been lost
I said what is losing
I pressed the tiny dead flies to the pages of the book
And we bought a building
And I pretended it was the past
And Robbie you opened up the doors
And in the room was green light
And you said, oh stop it, you can be happy now


Dorothea Lasky is the author of five collections of poetry, including ROME and her latest, Milk. She is an assistant professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and lives in New York City.

Note: ‘The School’ first appeared in the USA in Lasky’s latest collection, Milk (Wave Books, 2018).

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