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From the Winter, 2012 Issue of The Antioch Review

THE NATURAL HISTORY OF SECRETS

by Austen Leah Rosenfeld

Scraps of paper stapled to telephone poles
shiver in the wind, informative fish scales:
lost cat, yoga class, someone looking for a bass player.

People’s wants and needs right there
for anyone to read, everyone to read,
like Latin engravings, like open heart surgery.

I never felt the street belonged to me.
I was just visiting. Have you ever walked
through a museum without looking at a thing?

An old boyfriend calls, he thinks we’re just the same;
it pins my stomach to my spine,
like a butterfly on exhibit.

It helps to say these things out loud:
state your condition, instant by instant,
like the New York Stock Exchange.

The strings that hold my vertebrae together
are loosening. Eventually
your secrets become yours to throw away.

Or if you keep them, like crumpled receipts,
they fossilize to amber:
you could make them into earrings.

 

***

austenAusten Leah Rosenfeld holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia. Her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Salmagundi Magazine, AGNI, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Carolina Quarterly and elsewhere. She has taught at Columbia, the Fashion Institute of Technology and Staten Island College. She writes for Style.com and lives in Brooklyn.

 

© 2014 The Antioch Review

 

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