Some of the elements of life
will survive microbial disaster,
will refuse to recognize us,
will come up to the newspapers
and affect a response.

Descartes found himself in the bright blue
strong wind of the northern climate. There,
the erratic queen demanded he give her philosophy
at five in the morning and, calling in a cold,
he died.

On this side of enlightenment,
a bald man combs
his remaining hair for the reading.
He cannot exhale himself
into someone else’s mouth. He and I

wish that fresh lemonade
sign were true. Nothing is
promised to everyone. Kant opened a door
he then closed. Still bruised where the watchface sits.
How do I get rid of miasma again? this scary beak of herbs?

stick to my bowler hat? a stick to whack your filth
away from me?
Life too near,
under the blanket, touchy with hate.
We lie in bed, hands on our stomachs like fat professors.

Yet
I am the unscathed lemon.
The sky of me.
The Swiss après-ski
of this face.

Healthy and here.
The nonce. The Entstehung.
How sudden then, as I turn to swoon out, nearly, could have, felt.
What did Dostoevsky smell before
his body betrayed him? Oranges?

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LAUREN HILGER is the author of Lady Be Good (CCM, 2016). Awarded the Nadya Aisenberg Fellowship from the MacDowell Colony, where she was a fellow in 2012 and 2014, her work has been chosen for Harvard Review Online's Poetry Pick and has appeared in Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review Online, and Massachusetts Review, among other journals. She serves as a poetry editor for No Tokens.

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