Call It In

The Doldrum Fracture Zone

The place where sailors — though now open
to all professions — went to consider the mirage
of their own despair. Once, only sailors could
go there: the breezeless place,
the weed-choked and stinking plain
where they stalled for weeks, months. Today,
the Zone comes to us,
its great gray inertness dragged
like opaque knife wounds over each
who stands on a shore and calls it in,
dragged over him or her who believes his or her despair is
a mirage and not
a mirror. . . . That man
who still holds the handle of the mailbox open, its huge black mouth
having just swallowed
a letter that cannot be unwritten
which falls on top of a pile of other such letters
in their white dresses
in the dark — that man has called it in.
There is a sound of tiny roots being torn,
and a water spider, skating smoothly over the Zone’s flat surface, sinks.

-Thomas Lux

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