Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Forty
Spring 2016
The Beginner’s Guide to Endings
Jessica Goodfellow

My grandparents drove for a day and a half
to see the life-sized cardboard cutout
of my teenaged grandfather, his paper arm
about the cinched waist of the two-dimensional
Edith Egan, winners in the lindy hop contest
on the world’s largest dance floor at Saltair.

I was there that night too, my grandmother said,
with a date. Also, That appliqued waistband
flattered Edith; she was never that slim
My grandfather just looked at his young [im]poster
self and smiled, then got in his car and drove
the day and a half it took to get back home.

Spinoza said, The chief endeavor of the mind
is… to affirm the existence of the body.

The eight thousand terracotta warriors buried
with the first emperor of China each bore
a different face. John Ciardi said, I realized
the photographer is photographing himself.

Why did I use time and not distance to measure
my grandparents’ journey? The moon radiates
no light of its own. My grandfather once told me
that a body, having fallen twenty stories, when it hits
earth sounds the same as a door dropped from that height.
Of all the things he might have said, he said a door.

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