Vocation (noun): occupation, calling, field, business: Poetry

Where in the world is there room for this:
the daisy could stay forgotten, pressed
between pages until disintegration, no one
remembering to care. So you memorize this: how
we placed the daisy so gently under
the passage we together read, how we placed
the book in its dusty place on a shelf.

By day this street steams
with transients and trash-talk,
but at night, light slops over the edges
of street lamps that turn your walk home yellows then browns,
and what staggers beneath
has no shadow, only an oily smudge
trailing. The egg with bacon
grease, the hooker’s lipstick
mark on a glass.

Under the web of MUNI lines and buzzing
telephone cords, you imagine heaven as endless
sidewalks, well-lit and freshly paved. You imagine
living there rather than here, but you come back

to my apartment, go
to your knees in the light to tell me this, to point
to the dictionary, say, Page 1631,
between vocabulary and voice
. To say,
remember this. But I don’t. I remember
vivid and volatile, I remember white petals
exploding from the page.

Ciara Shuttleworth‘s work has been published in journals and anthologies, including Alaska Quarterly Review, The New Yorker, The Norton Introduction to Literature 11e, Ploughshares, and The Southern Review. Shuttleworth received an MFA in poetry from University of Idaho, a BFA in painting/drawing from San Francisco Art Institute, and a BA in studio art from Gustavus Adolphus College. She was a 2014 Jerome Foundation Fellow and The Jack Kerouac Project of Orlando’s spring 2015 resident at the Jack Kerouac House.