Copper Canyon Press is a nonprofit, independent poetry publisher based in Port Townsend, WA. We believe poetry is vital to language and living. Since 1972, Copper Canyon has published extraordinary poetry from around the world to engage the imaginations and intellects of readers. Read more

Other Things, If Not More Urgent Things

by Natalie Shapero

How to get close without going over.
How to feign lust for whatever’s on offer.
How the largest possible quantity
of anything is a lifetime. A lifetime
of oat bran. A lifetime of timing belts.
A lifetime of saying SURE, WHY NOT,
I’M ONLY ON EARTH X NUMBER
OF YEARS, and not knowing what
to make X. Sometimes I pick a number
I’ve already passed. I remember
the gambler’s credo—when you only
have fifty bucks left in this world,
you’d better get rid of it fast; the last
thing you want is money around,
reminding you every day of the money
you lost. The recommended
retirement plan is arabesque, then leap
and smash on the seawall. We made
a promise not to catch each other.

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