THE NATURAL HISTORY OF SECRETS






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Publication: The Antioch Review
Author: Rosenfeld, Austen Leah
Date published: January 1, 2012

Scraps of paper stapled to telephone poles

shiver in the wind, informative fish scales:

lost cat, yoga class, someone looking for a bass player.

People's wants and needs right there

for anyone to read, everyone to read,

like Latin engravings, like open-heart surgery.

I never felt the street belonged to me.

I was just visiting. Have you ever walked

through a museum without looking at a thing?

An old boyfriend calls, he thinks we're just the same;

it pins my stomach to my spine,

like a butterfly on exhibit.

It helps to say these things out loud:

state your condition, instant by instant,

like the New York Stock Exchange.

The strings that hold my vertebrae together

are loosening. Eventually

your secrets become yours to throw away.

Or if you keep them, like crumpled receipts,

they fossilize to amber:

you could make them into earrings.

Author affiliation:

AUSTEN LEAH ROSENFELD received her BA from Stanford University and is currently pursuing her MFA at Columbia. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast and AGNI. She is originally from Los Angeles.

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