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This poem is taken from PN Review 213, Volume 40 Number 1, September - October 2013.

Idling & dawdling Matthew Welton
[midges & bicycles]

We're idling along the sidewalk while the woman who's wandered ahead of us is mumbling something hummable and scrubbing the glue from her hands. Behind us the garage door springs open. Above us the midges let their thoughts run dry.

Between our idea of the thing and our idea of our idea of the thing, we imagine ourselves lapsing into a type of inaccuracy, though it may be, we imagine, an accurate kind of inaccuracy or, possibly, at least, an accurate lapse.

Out on the gravel a bicycle swerves. The clouds ruffle together in the sludgy midsummer dusk.


[midges & shadows]

We're chasing around on the crosswalk while the woman who's wandering ahead of us is mumbling something unimaginable and scrubbing the soot from her hands. Trucks trickle over the rickety road. In the hedges the midges shiver in the heat.

Our understanding wavers and our definitions drift, but the idea that ideas come only from ideas isn't something we'd imagine would budge too much.

Around us our shadows shift out of shape. Clouds muffle together in the sludgy midsummer dusk.


[midges & satsumas]

We're sneaking along on the cakewalk while the woman who wanders ahead of us is mumbling something insistent and scrubbing the fudge from her hands. Daisies grow in the dust heap. The midges nudge along among the weeds in the yard.

The definable thing becomes less definite than the smudges at its edges, and the smudges at its edges become less definable almost indefinitely.

Coils of satsuma peel pile up around us. The clouds stifle together in the sludgy midsummer dusk.


[midges & breezes]

We're dawdling along the boardwalk while the woman who wandered ahead of us is mumbling something unmissable and scrubbing the scabs from her hands. The sun dries the snail drool. If the midges begrudge us our beach-hut home, they seem happy enough to visit us here, and to come drifting in after breakfast, and to hum to each other as we sleep.

A thing in context is a thing in itself, and a thing out of context is almost nothing.

Out above the gravel, the breeze becomes abrasive. The clouds shuffle together in the sludgy midsummer dusk.
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