Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Elena Karina Byrne: Artist Sophie Calle, now take care of yourself

No one gets to be happy here unless happy means Pain 

is exquisite, if you let it. Follow us to the animal bedroom, 

through the drive-through chapel, walkabout child fairytale 

day hour it takes to become a stranger, where you can’t see 

you, your hand on the heart like a small anvil. Where mothers 

will make mistakes politicians appear, speaking from mounting 

sea trash and border wire’s meshed lingo, what fathers take can 

make gunpowder-snuff for the blind. But come. Come here anyway 

to this continent in a floating wardrobe boat. Follow the past to this 

missing solitude place. There will be a money jar, pink hot water bottle, 

one duck-handled umbrella gun waiting for you. This is where you will 

weep from your eyes only, making no sound, as if your foreign voice was 

taken away elsewhere, separated, voyaged far from your body, farther, 

like an orphan not knowing her home was just a cage unlocked all along.


Copyright 2019 Elena Karina Byrne

Elena Karina Byrne’s many publications include Squander (Omnidawn, 2016).

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