Carrie Fountain
The Student

I wish I were as talented

at anything as he is

 

at pulling Derrida into

a conversation, any

 

conversation, no matter

what we’re discussing:

 

Derrida. Even once

when he was telling me

 

why he didn’t have

the assignment, even then

 

after a long and aerobic

journey we arrived

 

at Derrida, his white

hair and elegant European

 

ideas, and it felt good—

I admit it felt good to finally

 

arrive there—ah bonjour

Monsieur Derrida!—

 

because at least I knew

then where I was, even

 

if it wasn’t where

I wanted to be. To pretend,

 

Derrida said, I actually

do the thing: I have therefore

 

only pretended to pretend.

I pretend sometimes. Other

 

times all I do is pretend.

I’ve created gods this way

 

and on occasion I’ve tied

those gods together

 

like they do bed sheets

in a movie, and I’ve escaped

 

the high tower of myself

this way, I’ve made it

 

to solid ground this way,

landed on the earth.

 

And each time I’ve been sure

I’ve actually done the thing,

 

but then I look up

and the gods are gone.

 

 

Found In Volume 47, No. 03
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Carrie Fountain
About the Author

Carrie Fountain is the author of Burn Lake (Penguin, 2010) and Instant Winner (Penguin, 2014).