Paisley Rekdal

How horrible it is, how horrible

that Cronenberg film where Goldblum’s trapped


with a fly inside his Material

Transformer: bits of the man emerging


gooey, many-eyed; bits of the fly

worrying that his agent’s screwed him–


I almost flinch to see the body later

that’s left its fly in the corner, I mean


the fly that’s left its body, recalling too

that medieval nightmare, Resurrection,


in which every soul must scurry

to rejoin the plush interiors of its flesh,


pushing through, marrying

perhaps indiscriminately


because Heaven won’t take what’s only half:

one soul blurring forever


into another body.

If we can’t know the boundaries between ourselves


in life, what will they be in death,

corrupted steadily on each side


by maggot, rain and superstition, by affection

that depends on memory to survive?


People should keep their hands to themselves

for the remainder of the flight:


who needs another’s talent, good looks,

or insecurities?


Darling, what I love in you I pray will always stay

the hell away from me.

Found In Volume 38, No. 02
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Paisley Rekdal
About the Author

Paisley Rekdal is the author of over ten books of poetry and nonfiction, most recently Nightingale: Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2019) and Appropriate: A Provocation (W.W. Norton, 2021). A two-time finalist of the Kingsley Tufts Prize, her work has garnered fellowships from the NEA, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She guest edited Best American Poetry 2020, and her own work is forthcoming from or has appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The New Republic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and The New York Times Magazine. From 2017-2022, she served as Utah's Poet Laureate. She is Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of Utah.