Deepfake Ashbery

Benjamin Aleshire

“Let’s go for a stroll to the river!” ejaculated Diane.
And though you’ve already beheld the river on
so very many placid occasions your voice-box
makes that sound again, that Waterloo “Yes, yes let’s”
tootling in your throat. After all you admire
Diane for her chandelier, so many crystal wishes
lucid in the lubricious half-light, but you bolt
to the bathroom mirror and tell it, “You
puppy-mewler! The river. Naufraugeur!”
That last word chicken-bones in your throat
but you don’t know why and it doesn’t matter.
Nothing particularly matters here, at’all. Besides,
the chandelier proceeds with tinkle-tinkle-tinkling
the syllables of your name on the other side
of your fortress door. When you compose yourself
in subjunctive, return to the flock, no one notices
they were gone. The poem is long since finished
but its sub-rosa applause keeps going on, and on.

Benjamin Aleshire‘s work has appeared in The Times UK, Iowa Review, Boston Review, London Magazine, and on television in the US, China, and Spain. An excerpt from his novel-in-progress Poet for Hire was featured at Lit Hub and the Poetry Foundation’s Harriet blog. In 2020, Ben received a James Merrill fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, and was a finalist for the Alice James Award. He serves as a contributing editor for Green Mountains Review. Find him at, and on twitter: @droletariat.

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