“Exit Muse,” a Poem by Zoë Hitzig

From the Collection “Not Us Now”

June 7, 2024  By Zoë Hitzig

I erased my contacts.
First my digital extremities,
then each node in the spindling network
of my internal communication systems.
Starving the fever, like you always said.
Now my words fall onto the riverbank like the bottled
voices inside a personality test.

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“I like mechanics magazines.”
“My soul sometimes leaves my body.”
“A cosmic threat I am sewn to the canyon walls of the void.”

The sunflower you gave me a year ago?
In the mirror I practiced its slow-mo
surrender. How it bowed as it starved on the windowsill.

No no don’t worry. This is not another
long haul near-dawn phone call
from the cinderblock stairwell.
Not like the time I traded our house
for the powder that exploded in my mouth.

The sun sears the river.
A barge sways downstream.
A solitary bulldozer kneels in cargo.
And that cedar tree by the gazebo—
it reminds me of you.
If only I could wear it like a mast,
I’d fill myself up with the wind of an instant.

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Not Us Now by Zoë Hitzig is available via Changes.

Zoë Hitzig
Zoë Hitzig
Zoë Hitzig is the author of Not Us Now (Changes, 2024),winner of the Changes Book Prize, and Mezzanine (Ecco, 2020). She currently serves as poetry editor of The Drift.

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