Keepers (1)

By: Steph Burt
July 20, 2016

One in a series republishing 10 poems — about everyday objects and pop culture avatars — by HiLobrow friend and contributor Steph Burt.

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SELF-PORTRAIT AS KITTY PRYDE

I have been identified
as gifted & dangerous. People fight
      over me
but not in the ways I want. Who would
      expect
it in a girl from Deerfield, Illinois,
town of strict zoning, no neon & quality
      schools?
I pass through difficult physical laws,
      cement,
flames, cupboards, crowds, tree trunks
      & arguments,
precociously, like something to protect.
I am always going through some phase.

My best friend spent apprentice years
alone inside a study like a star.
My wide eyes & Jewish hair
are shyness, a challenge to artists, &
untouchable. I can slip out of the back of
      a car.
When I am tired I dance, or pace
barefoot on the civilian ground
of Salem Center, where rain falls
      through me.
I have begun to learn to walk on air.

Adventures overemphasize my age.
In my distant & plausible future I will bear
one child, scorn, twenty-five pounds
of technology on my back, & the further
      weight
of giving orders to a restless band
of misfits who save America from its
      own rage
but cannot save themselves, & stay up late.
My friends & the fate of the world will have
      come to rest,
unexpected, staccato, in my sophomore
      hands.

Copyright © 2006 by Stephen Burt. Reprinted from PARALLEL PLAY with the permission of the author and Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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ALL POSTS IN THIS SERIES

STEPH BURT at HILOBROW: KEEPERS (10 poems) | GENO (EPIC WINS series) | NO KILL I (KIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM series) | ENTANGLEMENT (HERMENAUTIC TAROT series) | HAPPY BIRTHDAY (QUIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM series).

CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: THAT’S GREAT MARVEL by Douglas Wolk | LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE by Chris Spurgeon | IMAGINARY FRIENDS by Alexandra Molotkow | UNFLOWN by Jacob Covey | ADEQUATED by Franklin Bruno | QUALITY JOE by Joe Alterio | CHICKEN LIT by Lisa Jane Persky | PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE by Significant Objects | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE by Significant Objects | UNBORED MANIFESTO by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators

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