There is a line that runs from me to you.
Someone could walk it like a tightrope.
There are a lot of people involved—
Me. You. Whoever came to watch below.
Maybe that French walker, Philippe Petite, who seems like a real jerk.
No one cares, unless they were close to him.
I could be a jerk. I just don’t want you over here
because I only understand this line. I know very little
about what keeps us apart. I have seen all of your burger still lifes online.
I don’t use a close-up mirror to line my eyes.
Who do I want near me?
I am thinking really hard about one foot in front of the other,
while Philippe’s feet just move. Because we are expected to keep
our status updates very brief, I have some time in the week. I walk to work.
I know there’s not a first step. I went into an art museum
and stood and looked and decided not to feel stupid about looking.
I decided I like lines more than the figures. Figures make it across, though.
No one looked at me. Many people in the museum seemed proud not to look at the labels.
Shouldn’t need them! Don’t need them!
I do. What is the title of this line next to another line?
What materials are used to make distance?
What else could you live without? Me?
Dear Reader, I don’t want to share you with anyone.


You have beaten me to it, giving everyone we know compliments.

Mine come out as Enough with the confidence!
Once someone said Don’t worry, you look fertile.
Not that I was fishing,

but I would love to be holding something.
Not a pole, but maybe a building.
A very small building I could never enter.

Have you ever been locked out of
your own hands?

You can see the mess you’ve made,
but you feel like it’s something you’re still going to make.

A hand reaches out, and I just try to rhyme.

I have thrown confetti at parties and felt like a cornfield.

You can see the drawing, but you can’t enter the lines. But there is the hand. There is the
hand. The hand, the line.

Some things become believable when you can’t reach them.

Your body is a chandelier when it can point.

I would like for you to look where I say look.
That’s the kind of I hope I get from words.

Rows and rows and rows of impenetrable things, maybe a field of them,
make me happy too.

But I’m a poet, and I can’t make anything.

CARRIE OEDING's first book of poems, OUR LIST OF SOLUTIONS, was published by 42 Miles Press. Her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Pleiades, Bennington Review, Columbia Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Oeding lives in Providence, RI.