Word Choice features original works of fiction and poetry. Read three poems by Emily Pettit with art by Lisa Congdon, selected by Daniel Moysaenko.
Calibrating One’s Certainty Level to the Strength of Evidence
A trailer, a pyramid. How did you get there?
A road that travelers take. What someone wants
is for you to believe in that someone. Someone.
In the shade to stammer. Omitted but understood.
I take my postcards to the post office. I take
my suitcase to the station. My boat is moving away
from your boat. My boat to an edge. Your boat
to a different edge. How many edges does a pyramid
have? It depends on the number of sides.
The processing power of a brain that might lead
eyes to see buildings that look like boats. Conflicting
information collected. Calibrating one’s certainty level
to the strength of evidence, of enduring uncertainty
for long stretches of time. To see transportation
as transformation. Serenity please! Subtraction
to tell time. Associations of opposites. Associations
of sound. To remember is a sort of repetition.
I do not want to remember. What to remember.
Observing Our Own Emotions Through the Mail
May we draw on you? You can
draw on me. I draw certain people
over and over for certain people.
Bounce bounce. I draw on airplanes.
I draw airplanes. An airplane
with no wings. Wings are
what qualifies an aircraft, as
an airplane. To be a plane
you must have wings. A shiver.
A shiver that is less pronounced.
A generous costume. If you could
you would. If you could would?
You would what? Try. Try to be
a plane. A plane in the rain.
A plane in the rain passes a train
and gets to a new weather.
Begin with a feather, a movement
to a new weather. I will draw that
for you too. A person with wings
on a plane.
A Name That Haunts You Your Name That Haunts You
That airplane looked like war. Same sky
a little later a different plane, didn’t
look like war. Light refractions making people
see more mystery, more history. The hermit’s
roar. An intoxicated feather. Your face.
The feeling of heat appearing to others.
Now my door is red. So many tiny blue dice
fall out of a bottle. You and someone’s feelings
not aligning like an unobserved blue. Hands
stained with ink. I think sometimes
we get constrained to expressing immediate
sensations. Subjectivity, symbols and dreams.
Elation or terror. To send a flare signal
on a calm clear day they say to use a flare
that emits bright orange smoke. To send a calm
clear signal on an orange smoke day they say
they say they say
Emily Pettit is the author of Goat in the Snow (Birds LLC). She is an editor for notnostrums, jubilat, and Factory Hollow Press. She teaches at Flying Object and Elms College.
Fine artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon is best known for her colorful paintings and collages. Her vast catalog of work is inspired by many of the things she loves: pattern, vintage ephemera, and color. Lisa is also known for her hand-lettering and pattern design, and she keeps a daily blog of her work called Today Is Going To Be Awesome. She lives in the Mission District of San Francisco with her partner, Chihuahua, and two cats.