sporklet 15

Elisa Gabbert

The Idea of Beginning

My brother knows how to make a chair from the little wire cage on a bottle of champagne.


I find it hard to throw away the wire when I know there’s a chair inside.


A chair my brother would have made, which would make it worth saving.


I find it hard to throw out flowers, which were dead on arrival.


Some philosophers think that your phone has a conscious “mind.”


Same for anything sufficiently connected—like Pando, a tree that manifests as hundreds of trees and is “currently thought to be dying.”


I haven’t seen a crow in a long time—do crows have a season?


I got a book about symbols in the mail and it opened to the “crow” page—I’m not lying.


It said, Because of its black colour, the crow is associated with the idea of beginning.


Once, driving south through New Mexico at sunset, the sunset was endless.


I am not sure why, geographically or astronomically speaking, it just kept glowing.


I associate the idea of beginning with the idea of death: to exist at all is to enter eternity.


I associate the word “thing” with false humility—who am I to name a thing?


Who am I with this long blond hair?


Who am I when I sleep so deeply I wake up thinking of my childhood bed?


In New Mexico the moon rising over the mountain was absurd on its face.


All ha ha ha.

Elisa Gabbert is the author of five collections of poetry, essays, and criticism, most recently The Unreality of Memory and Other Essays, out now from FSG, and The Word Pretty (Black Ocean, 2018). Her writing has appeared recently in A Public Space, American Poetry Review, New England Review, The New York Review of Books, Harper’s, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Denver.