Sarah Bates
Pacing Leo
​That summer Virginia Woolf said though we see the same world, we see it through different eyes.

When you show me the bear, all I can say is maybe clouds get buried around the tops of known trees, and not a single thing about pulling weeds, curtain rods, the way in which mosquitos couple on our lashes.

It’s what I tell myself every time I come home to the world as mistake. When one of my branches collides with someone else’s sky.

It’s that death to feeling.

They’re killing all the deer.

That fire to floating.

They don’t even know what’s happening.

It’s like I’m taking a photograph of my feet without meaning to.

That summer I cried over peeled wallpaper and rotting walls. Gray slippers and every other sock with holes. Your only pair of reading glasses stuck to the stairs. What’s worse, butterflies fading or butterflies gone. I’d replace mold for Georgian Revival Blue and fix everything they tell me you broke.

Four months later, I come home to a bear in the fridge. You tell me it’s a sport. To let you have it. All I can see are long limbs like black rocks, the way they used to stretch out to Route 66, but maybe there’s something wrong with my eyes.

Woolf called intellectual liberty the right to say or write what you think in your own words.

To return to an old place and name the bee’s stinger. To stick it between clouds.

To stand at the mouth of the bear and explain myself.

People always want to know what “it” means. They imagine a dead deer on the side of M28 or a poem with fewer guns. No, no guns. I think this is supposed to be a poem without guns. I imagine that they imagine the world made of feathers.

Forty miles into the Seney Stretch I learned to walk instead of speak.

In ancient Egypt, the huntsmen constituted a social class.