Halfway up the spiral of that spacecraft,
there it was — suspended at the level of
illusion, box after box after box
of white flower humming like an icemaker.
The closer you got, the louder and more
beautiful the human hand, the brushstrokes,
the flower, the flower, the flower. They hang
the paintings on a slant, flush with the floor
so that the viewers think the work is level.
Gridded out into the dark, the white flower —
not so perfect as to lose the human touch,
the artist starting with something perfect,
this is that something less-than which survived;
up close, the grid dissolves into the boxes,
the boxes fade away into the strokes,
oil, pigment spread across canvas — the hum,
fractals of grids and flowers and beauty.
Even the sloppiest of circles
conjures the perfect circle in our minds,
and every grid belongs with other grids:
anything more would be impossible.
After, I saw white flower everywhere:
crosswords, calendars, the subway map
guiding us back to the hotel room post-
Guggenheim. We took lazy shots then
you crashed into sleep. It was too hot
so I stayed up and counted tiles in
the purple dark, the afterimage still
humming in the aisles of my mind,
even on the bus ride home to Richmond:
white flower in the grid of windows,
the lattice of chain link fences, the sidewalks,
everywhere, packs of cigarettes re-
peating themselves over and over and
over behind the counter, all of it.
Grady Trexler is an undergraduate at Princeton University studying philosophy and linguistics. He is from Midlothian, Virginia. He is currently using a purple and white toothbrush.