Jorie Graham

Listen the voice is American it would reach you it has wiring in its swan’s neck
               where it is
               always turning
round to see behind itself as it has no past to speak of except some nocturnal
journals written in woods where the fight has just taken place or is about to
               take place
               for place
the pupils have firelight in them where the man a surveyor or a tracker still has
               no idea what
               is coming
the wall-to-wall cars on the 405 for the ride home from the cubicle or the corner
               office – how big
the difference – or the waiting all day again in line till your number is
               called it will be
               called which means
exactly nothing as no one will say to you as was promised by all eternity ‘ah son, do you
know where you came from, tell me, tell me your story as you have come to this
               Station’ – no, they
               did away with
               the stations
               and the jobs
               the way of
and your number, how you hold it, its promise on its paper,
if numbers could breathe each one of these would be an
               exhalation, the last breath of something
and then there you have it: stilled: the exactness: the number: your
               number. That is why they
               can use it. Because it was living
               and now is
               stilled. The transition from one state to the
               other – they
               give, you
               receive – provides its shape.
A number is always hovering over something beneath it. It is
               invisible, but you can feel it. To make a sum
you summon a crowd. A large number is a form
               of mob. The larger the number the more
They are getting very large now.
               The thing to do right
is to start counting, to say it is my
               turn, mine to step into
               the stream of blood
               for the interview,
               to say I
               can do it, to say I
               am not
one, and then say two, three, four and feel
               the blood take you in from above a legion
single file heading out in formation
               across a desert that will not count.