Sarah Layden

Something in the Way

We never find out how she moves,
just that something attracted the singer
like no other. Maybe a jaunty stride
down the sidewalk. A series of gestures
a woman makes that make a man
want to do something to a woman. Or vice
versa. Or a man to a man. Or a woman
to a woman. You can switch the pronouns.

The other singer, the one in plaid flannel
who never finished his sentence
sang Something in the Way, and oooh-oohed
like a ghost. We knew exactly what he meant.
We had no idea. It was about feeling too much
or feeling nothing, something like that.

On the beach we played the radio, growing
drunker. A ship sailed into port carrying
several tons of something, and we, adorned
in leis, held our beer cans aloft. Surely we
toasted to something; I don’t recall.
We drank our words.

No one knows: years ago while crossing
a busy street, something fell from the sky.
A mystery object of metal and glass
shattered in clean bits nearby. A petrol
reek. I thought I remained intact. But
something inside me was broken.

I imagine I’m looking for something
when I meander along the mica-flecked
mall tiles: a skirt with a flamingo appliqué,
a hot pretzel dipped in icing, an engraved silver
mug that reads, You’re Really Something! But no.
I only find shopper’s amnesia, empty
pockets I can’t account for.

According to the Internet, the celebrity
grows something inside herself. She won’t say
whether it’s a fetus or cancer. Or a fake
fetus. Or fake cancer. The talk show host
sighs and deadpans, “It’s always something.”

Of course he’s wrong. It’s something else.


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