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Alias

I can’t, à la author Miranda July,
rechristen myself for the seventh moon,
because in it my uncle died.
 
The eighth was his birth month,
and in the eleventh my brother
both entered and exited the ether.
 
As a moniker, Thursday is also a wash,
and the other six days as well, since
we’ll never know which in a ten-day stretch
 
was the day my uncle ceased being.
This is a miscalculation: to identify
with time, as its shadow—entropy—
 
creeps over the face of everything
like a glacier across a landscape. Time
is no talisman; now is no alias in which
 
to take refuge like a snow cave. Happy birthday,
uncle, scoot over—it’s your niece, Jessica
Mudpuddle, Jessica Echo, here to say that time
 
is ice, and death is melting. Time is
a windshield, and death a white flag
that isn’t white and isn’t a flag:
 
it’s an orange sleeping bag hung on a pole.
Meanwhile we listen for what flaps and bucks
in the wind, until it doesn’t. Or we don’t.
 
 
 

Jessica Goodfellow is author of Mendeleev’s Mandala (Mayapple Press, forthcoming 2015), The Insomniac’s Weather Report (Isobar Press, 2014) and chapbook A Pilgrim’s Guide to Chaos in the Heartland (Concrete Wolf, 2006). Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac. She is a past recipient of the Chad Walsh Prize from Beloit Poetry Journal. Possessor of a graduate degree from Caltech, she lives and works in Japan.