Love in the Age of Object Permanence

Emily Stokes


Not so much the adoration, but the fear
of losing. A newspaper becomes a lifeline

to a new day—teacups, a trail to serenity.
The world extends a Styrofoam cup

like a white flag, an emblem of truce
to be validated through preservation. 

Inside a catalog of loss, this refusal to forget:
a floor-to-ceiling library of heartache

governed by entropy, the cosmic cortex
unable to balance and so begins to spin

an amplified holiness of all mundane things. 
An empty yogurt container, for example

escapes its downward destiny and appreciates
the outdoors, commiserates with broken plates

and rusted trivets. A flock of bottle caps
becomes a tool for understanding time:

the infinite combinations of bend and hue
reveal some private message, each metal skirt 

fluttering a different glimpse of the future.
An urgent call to immediate existence demands 

that laundry bloom atop the empty dresser
so as not to disappear. This love is a fearsome chore

governed by the laws of ultimate inclusion: to honor
all that surrounds you, lest the gods taketh away.



Emily Stokes received her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and currently serves as the Managing Editor for Madcap Review. Her work has appeared in SLICE Magazine, The Westchester Review, PANK, and the Toadlily Press Quarto Series. She currently lives, works, and writes in Philadelphia, where her first full-length manuscript is crashing on the couch and looking for a small press to call its home.

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