Liz Waldner
Self Portrait as Pencil on Placemat

Alone. And alone. The pencil knows
its lots. Of loss it’s a lot.

The placemat never gambles, though.
All bets covered, all crumbs off.

The pencil points in impression’s direction,
pissed off to be thought encompassing.

A tea bag wrapper turns its back, points its lap
elsewhere. Miss Hap. A pencil can’t writ(h)e

for the lead inside. Its head is made
to rub its own ideas away. Against its word

to disappear. And disappear: give is to take
as dream is to wake—same message as ever:

Send Word.

Found In Volume 29, No. 04
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  • Liz Waldner
Liz Waldner
About the Author

Liz Waldner grew up in rural Mississippi and earned a BA in mathematics and philosophy at St. John’s College and an MFA at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her recent books include A Point Is That Which Has No Part (2000), which won both the Iowa Poetry Prize and the James Laughlin Award, Self and Simulacra (2001), Dark Would (the missing person) (2002), Trust (2009), andPlay (2009).