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’s first collection, Burn Lake, was a winner of the 2009 National Poetry Series Award and was published in 2010 by Penguin. Instant Winner, her second collection, was published by Penguin in 2014. Currently Writer-in-residence at St. Edward’s University, she has had work published in The New Yorker, Poetry, and Tin House. Her first novel, I’m Not Missing, was published in 2018. She currently serves as Poet Laureate of the state of Texas.