One can’t predict what happens next, yet even
chaos breeds patterns of a sort: sly singles

at the bar, nocturnal creatures stalking shadows,
cars cruising for motion’s sake. I’m speaking out

of turn again. We all are sensitive
to first impressions, but initial conditions

shift swiftly and with little impetus.
I found him digging ditches in summer heat,

and soon we’d made declarations, smiled broadly
for photographs. It wasn’t meant to be

a game, but I am strange and turbulent.
I move from this to that and this again—

always this again. Strange attractor, shifting
my gaze, on edge, plotting my next move. Movement

is a theory too – remember what the teacher
told us? Physics says we will keep moving,

though this can’t be progress. More often we
spin circles, noting views that barely change.

I want my windows to reveal the world
un-blurred, I want to understand our need

for headway, but all this motion has a way
of running things together. Who we are

has slipped from us again, slick fish refusing
stasis, our stubborn will to carry on.

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ELIZABETH HAZEN is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Poetry, American Literary Review, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, The Threepenny Review, The Normal School, and other journals. Her first book, Chaos Theories, was published in 2016. Her second book, Girls Like Us, is out now. She lives in Baltimore.

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