New Grammar

I’m just at the beginning of the bell curve
when teenagers turn the staticky bullhorns
of their disbelief my way. I understand they
is the new he or she like I understand
the comeback of the fanny pack. One part

bemusement, two parts derision, three parts
stubborn resistance. This morning I stood under
the drooping head of a sunflower on the verge
of losing everything and almost sat down
to write about that golden shower of pollen.

I know, I know. I’ve even read that entry
in Urban Dictionary, which falls approximately
into the category of You Don’t Want To Know
Unless You Know Already. In a few more years
I’ll probably turn up the feedback til it turns

into the undiagnosable tongues of creek water.
I’d like to be able to cultivate the thin wind-
fall of not-knowing longer, the last dose of awe,
to cling to the garish dying-out season until frost
claims me for its anniversary piñata. But I do

understand the desire to not have to distinguish
between she or he or even how many, to be
unknowably numerous in the skittery moment
of our failing and yearning August bodies, seeds–
Lord help us – raining golden from our heads.

Elyse Fenton is the author of the poetry collection, Clamor, which was awarded the 2010 Dylan Thomas Prize. Her second manuscript, Sweet Insurgent, won the Alice Fay di’Castagnola Prize from the Poetry Society of America. Her poetry and prose have been published in American Poetry Review, Best New Poets, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, Zzyzyva, The New York Times, and elsewhere.