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Two figures, one of them kneeling,
have mastered the washing machine.
First Bach’s Minuet, then
John Williams’s chromatic Harry Potter
theme named after an owl. A wolf
animated by a puppeteer barks directions
for making bread from old bananas. Impressions
of Shakespeare, a girl who bullied you
in high school, a pantheon of unknown stars,
and primers on jazz improvisation
and blowing the shofar. This scroll
teaches one thumb at a time.

A historian explains a Nazi slogan painted
on the wall at a ’37 exhibition of degenerate art:
The Jewish longing for wilderness reveals itself.
A strongman in a kilt hurls a keg clear over a fence.
A naturalist explains the contour of a second-growth forest.
A stranger with purple hair scales an artificial climbing wall.
On a closer look, I know her. It’s Luna. Hi, Luna!
Now we’re in a sanctuary.
A rabbi pulls a scroll dressed in velvet
from the ark and begins to walk it down the aisle
while the congregation chants that this book
and two other things hold up the world.
Once I’m in the room, the room becomes
a field in oils with a creature at the center
and a voice asking
if the creature is a possum playing dead.



Jake Goldwasser is a writer, translator, and cartoonist based in Brooklyn and Iowa City. His work can be found in The Baffler, New England Review, Lit Hub, and elsewhere. He is an MFA candidate in poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.




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