d a n i k a    s t e g e m a n

from LOST poems


Tabula Rasa



Tabula Rasa


You should try not to move.  Your fever is dangerous.  Okay, excellent,
walk through the jungle in the dark.  The trees will catch you.

Weíre stuck in the middle of damn nowhere because you happened
to wonder about place—its artificial, gathered order.   Subtitle:  No.

This isnít it.  The scene changes to hunger.  Let the fever take
everything in compartments.  Your body will shut down one piece

at a time.  An attempt to rescue us failed.  If we gather electronic equipment
we can try again.  I walk through the haunted damn jungle looking

for some sound/movement.  I donít hear it.  Subtitle:  Iíll keep looking.
A miracle happened to us.  I found you tethered to a tree.  Youíve never

held a gun.  It doesnít matter.  I doesnít matter who we were.  What we did
before this.  We should be able to start over.  Subtitle:  I love you.  Hi.  Hey.

I tell you ďI know.Ē  I say Iíll take your fever away.  I lie.  The scene switches
for nothing.  We see a lighter being lit.  We hear Patsy Cline everywhere

like a rearview mirror.  If you were my friend youíd find a camera.  Subtitle:
in case you hadnít noticed you donít look free to me.  Itíll take hours

to bleed out. The fever becomes a force. A nice song fades to creepy music.




We convene at the usual rendezvous point.  Of course I carry
iron, rivets, and scorched wiring.  You call me paranoid

but pack a suitcase full of knives.  You know whatís in there.  Wide shot
of a bunch of cubicles.  We hear the sound of a phone ringing.  This is

destiny.  We are a GO.  You keep quiet and pull out a little
flashlight.  We are trying to see inside into the dark.  You nod and give

the okay sign.  I have never felt so alive.  Iím destined to turn into
a machine.  We have no right to take strength from the earth.

We become inseparable from it.  Everything shakes and we hear
a metallic noise. I donít know whatís wrong.  I mean maybe

you should save me.  This is destiny.   There must be a power source.
I break off a piece of office plant.  There are plenty of things

we can use for sustenance.  I make an antenna of sorts.  The antenna
might find the source.  You find some dirt.  That means weíre close.

I corner some sad reaction.  This is my destiny.  Move.  Youíve got to
move.  You do a double-take in a suit and white shoes.  You say

ďI told you so.Ē  We start a fire hoping someone will see it.
We look at each other.  Last I heard we were made of time.




Snow made it difficult to separate the air
from the fumes.  A warm jacket

once a world, once cold is skinned—
a carcass the polar bears hunger after.

Their meat shrinks their bodies into miniature
stoves of carbon dioxide and trichinosis.  We eat

them and kerosene.  The lamps lighting
the only station make the snow fine

and the stars insufficient besides
what moves them.


DANIKA STEGEMAN lives in Minneapolis, MN and works in a library. She has an M.F.A. in creative writing from George Mason University. Her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, NO÷ Journal and Lo-Ball, among other places.

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