The Indicator x The Student: “Illusioned”

Originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of The Indicator, Pauline Bissell ’25 writes about reimaginings of everyday life in “Illusioned.”

The Indicator x The Student: “Illusioned”
Pauline Bissell ’25 examines the interiority of mundane objects in this poem from The Indicator’s Spring 2023 issue. Art courtesy of Erxi Lu ’24.

Sometimes I wake up and wonder if I have left my eyes behind in my sleep. I twist my rings round and round my fingers. I try to see clearly.
 I once believed my blood ran blue in my body, just because
 my veins told me so. We keep telling ourselves little lies.      
 We’re not supposed to believe them, but I do.

 Tonight the moon is a sliver, a fingernail clipping. I decide
 that I want to make everything tiny
 and keep the world in my pocket.

 In the mornings, every green thing hangs heavy with sweat.
 I wipe the dew from the grass.
 I tell it to stand up straight.
 Imagine that —

 Everything can be a polished stone if you want it. No lines no
 sharp edges. Someday I will iron out
 all the crevices and creases in the fiddle-leaf fig leaves,
 in the palms of your hands,
 in the microscopic mountain ranges that make up tree bark,
 so I can run my finger over everything so smooth, so
 that nothing splinters anymore.

 I try to track where the steam goes as it rises. I want to watch it arrive.
 I reboil the same water over and over until it creeps
 down to a pale shadow huddled
 in the bottom of the pot.
 I cannot even recognize
 my own footprints
 in a bank of snow.
 I just move
 to move
 to move