It’s okay to see the shadow of someone

It’s okay to feel small right before sleep.

Every dream has potential

to shatter the day to follow.

A plane crash on which you’re the standby

omitted from all records. Prepare to feel

smaller on your way down.

It’s okay to find soul and sorrow outdated

instead coal and marrow an accomplice.

It’s okay to idle inside that torn muscle

you’ve come to known as thorn

when you waited on benches

for whole tree growing ceremonies

while nobody yielded to the leaves

while someone strode from light to gone.

It’s okay to sit in a pub full of clamor

and not hear the person right or left

to your memory of vertigo, memory

is a form of vertigo, more surrender

less giddiness. It’s okay to despise words

that resonate like cartoon characters.

It’s okay to roam a grocery store and leave

only with that apple you could not have spotted

was hollow. It’s okay to look at hollow

solely as a noun and crawl inside its nest.

It’s okay to be quiet. The stars are too.

Okay to lie down with the lights still on.

A curtain moves like a show of hands,

the hardware on the closet wipes

a smirk off the fern’s spiny shadows.

It’s okay to be tired. You are carbon

and nitrogen too. A few billion years

are your currency. The raw materials

market has crashed. It’s okay to close

your eyes with everything aglow.

The stars too do not bother to watch.   


Monika Zobel is the author of An Instrument for Leaving, selected by Dorothea Lasky for the 2013 Slope Editions Book Prize and Das Innenfutter der Wörter (edition keiper, Graz, Austria, 2015). Her writing has appeared in Nimrod International Journal, Poetry Northwest, RHINO Poetry, Four Way Review, Redivider, DIAGRAM, Beloit Poetry Journal, Drunken Boat, Guernica Magazine, Best New Poets 2010, as well as German and Austrian publications. A Fulbright and Djerassi Resident Artists Program alumna, she lives in Bremen, Germany.