Emily Toder    



No Mystery Ever




I have so little power it’s a real blessing
I have very very little power I’m so happy I
have such little nothing power I’m thrilled if
I ever got any more power I would strangle

I counted my blessings I came up with an ok
amount of them mostly just by listing out my friends

I try to explain to my sweet friends their own lives
from my perspective
This is despicable but they still accept me
I use my perspective in a nice way
I would like to talk without metaphor
with them but it is hard
I ate a seaweed salad with one of them
Once I ate something like a chickpea fry
The strangest thing I ever ate was that fry
My friend is a marvelous person
Once I ate a raw vegan lasagna
My boyfriend he watched me
He betrayed me
But instead of that I am dead to him

I would like to live without metaphor
I would like to not abuse death
all the time
I know I must have eaten a weirder thing
than that chickpea fritter at some point
I know I ate a poison….
I know I have it in my gut
I feel it overpowering
my good bacteria who I personify shamelessly

I know my good bacteria
in my body
like my friends suffer

My friends are great people

who love me

without purpose

I know more than them

about their own lives cause my eyes

are not black

they’re ash

they’re like wet ash that fell into a lake

I would like if I could have written
more literally about this feeling

I would like to thank my friends

I would like to thank academia

Who would be loathe
to discuss this poem’s “voice”
around a round maple

I would like to thank academia
for my teachers and for
introducing me to my friends

and even for introducing me
to the man who despite
not believing in hate I hate

hey, man

Don’t hate


No Mystery Ever

no mystery ever
is around me

no special air shakes
my old eyebrows

no light
no light winks from the lost light
it came from

no moon is a mystery
the moon is a calculable
slice of a real light

the full moon is
the result of an angle

but steady

the rest of the moon
is the result of the same angle

I trust autocorrect
to correct me

the moon is nothing
but an object in a path

the full sun is ok to look at
it is fine to look at it

the cruel people are
organisms and are

pretty much all water
they can be nice

they will bump into you
they are messes

the stars are suns
the moon is unsurprising

the sky is mostly symbolic
the cloud looks like everything

the wind makes the lifeless move
the wind tosses the lifeless across the pavilion

the wind gives the dry leaf the illusion of life
the subway is still

I wish being alienated
meant getting fucked by an alien

or maybe something less vulgar:
maybe simply being duped by an alien

“I was so alienated”

nothing on earth mystifies me

no one on earth is good



Powerlessness is a relief
I already wrote this but
having no agency
not from cowardice but
from the poignancy
of others’ feelings
and from the piercing
of that feeling of
affecting them in any way
is a great blessing

So when I fucked over that job
my father said to me:
Emily you are not enough
to fuck them over

And when I fucked over that man
that man lived the rest of his life without me happily

I’ve returned everything I’ve ever found
I keep trying to prove this
by looking for lost things on the ground
I can return

I keep walking to the train looking at
dog shit and raw wire
and misty-eyed men
and sick misty women
their children all windbreakered
thinking I could probably behave properly
in any situation, just toss it to me like
I’m Eleanor Roosevelt

I have trouble believing myself so
I don’t blame you
I blame myself

Throw me in the water


Emily Toder is the author of the poetry collections Beachy Head and Science (from Coconut Books) and the chapbooks No Land (Brave Men Press), Brushes With (Tarpaulin Sky), and I Hear a Boat (Duets). She has translated various prose and poetry collections, among them The Life and Memoirs of Dr. Pi (Clockroot Books), Wendolin Kramer (Barcelona eBooks), and The Errant Astrologers (Ugly Duckling Presse).