The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2022

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APRIL 2022 Issue
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The Trip

Before the visuals kick in,
there’s an ancillary phase, a quasi-auditory
interior ticking so precise it seems mechanistic.

It’s a sign that says you’re about to be
face to face with some bright idea deus ex machina
device that drops in solely to contribute

a way out—all in the service of
being extricated from the boxed-in catastrophe
that is your life. You’ll be the same you

you were but moved over there, where there is
no more boredom insisting you ignore
the most pleasant fantasy imaginable.

The fact that the trip can’t last
will later make the illusion seem cruel. And yet,
you take it. Who wouldn’t choose that

over this? Such flawless thinking, you think,
just as thinking reaches its dwindling end.
O happy day, now is now and inside your ever-

obliging mind, you find yourself on
the fluttering edge of oblivion. The longed-for
utopia. The tacit rapture. Tzion. Nirvana.

The heaven that makes you up. The souvenir
photo shows you as you’ve never seen yourself.


Mary Jo Bang

Mary Jo Bang is the author of seven collections of poems. She teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.


The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2022

All Issues