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Listen to Lia Purpura read Proximities

 

Proximities

by Lia Purpura

A man walks into a coffee shop.
But it’s not a joke.
I bought coffee there
last summer.
Small, with milk.
It’s never a joke
to walk in or out of a shop
unharmed. It’s easy
to forget
you aren’t a person
being shot at.
I’m not.
I wasn’t, though
I was there,
last summer.
Not-shot-at
and I never knew it.
Did not once
think it.
Thinking it now
the moment thins,
it sheers,
and I move back to
other coffee shops
where I never fell, or bled,
and then
I sit for a while
with my regular cup
and feel things collapse
or go on, I can’t tell.

 

Purpura-Lia-large-for-web-295x368Lia Purpura’s most recent collection of essays is Rough Likeness. Her awards include a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, NEA and Fulbright Fellowships, and three Pushcart prizes. On Looking (essays) was finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her poems and essays appear in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Orion, The Paris Review, Field, and elsewhere; she lives in Baltimore and is a Writer in Residence at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

 

© 2014 The Antioch Review

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