Rusty Morrison


The private language, which only objects speak, is weight.

In a stack on my desk, there are six books I’ve left lying open, one upon the other, so
I can easily find the passages I plan to read again. They sink into each other,

letting gravity draw them into deeper conversations throughout the day.

The shadows cast by my desk-lamp only seem weightless. As evening comes on, they
increase in size until their densities speak fluently with the night.

I watch a cockroach at my baseboard flick its translucent forewings.

This minute of time listens to each wing’s nearly non-existent weight, then answers
by moving existence forward five minutes, taking everything with it.

As I roll my blue garbage can into the street for the weekly trash pick-up,

the can’s weight leans heavily into a conversation with the asphalt. Failing to
interpret their language, I fall.

Weight is what the arm of a record-player speaks to the record when the record skips.

The weight of these words, as I write, begin having their own dialog with the weight
of this page. I can say the words aloud,

but nothing of their conversation with the page reaches my ears.


Rusty Morrison’s six books include Risk, which will be published by Black Ocean in Spring 2024, After Urgency (won Tupelo’s Dorset Prize), the true keeps calm biding its story (won Ahsahta’s Sawtooth Prize, James Laughlin Award, N.California Book Award, & DiCastagnola Award). Beyond the Chainlink was a finalist for the NCIB Award & NCB Award. She’s a recipient of ​a fellowship from Civitella Ranieri, ​from UC Berkeley ARC’s Poetry & the Senses Program, and ​e​lsewhere. She teaches, gives writing consultations. She is the co-publisher of Omnidawn. Her Website: