“How Do We Sense the Sensational?”

by Ace Boggess


—leaflet found on the sidewalk

What if we reverse the play
so deus ex machina
comes in the beginning, &
we, cast & chorus,
fuck things up from there?

We want bright lights.
We want a voice
of god, or reason, recent studies

roaring in our heads like metronomic
thud-thud-thudding of the washer spinning,

but maybe it’s a squirrel crossing
in front of our cars as if to say slow down,
or a traffic light, red too soon,
saving us from a wreck we never saw,
while we stew & fume at having missed the green.

Passengers on a long ship, we witness
what we can: travelers, crew,
a singer in the lounge
making notes ripple in our pulsing hearts &

feet; the ocean, too,
though never a molecule of water,
an atom of hydrogen—stuff
of pure sensation & first things.

ACE BOGGESS is author of three books of poetry, most recently Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea, 2016). He is an ex-con, ex-reporter, ex-husband, and exhausted by all the things he isn’t anymore. His poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Rattle, River Styx, and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

Photo: “GOD” by Doran