Lizzie Harris




We fled east or maybe home
moved west. We lived six months
in a monastery—four Jews
in a desert. My mother

packed photos, but not enough
to prove I was ever a child.
I look better in pictures
I take of myself. I like to keep an eye

on my guise. Sometimes I see
myself in someone else's image.
I feel outside my lifespan. Even
earth is preparing for middle age:

I read about its sixth extinction
while doing butt-shaping exercises
alone in my boyfriend's bed.
Loneliness is a muscle worth

straining. Time's arrow
would say that after you fall apart
there's really no putting yourself
back together. Some physicists say

we're only here to generate heat,
and I believe them.
The year he left, my father called
each night to promise he'd return to us.

Like a time machine, he appeared,
but with a new baby (the scene we'd imagined
with minor adjustments).
Microscopic irreversibility.

Your life has overwhelming importance
when you take it out of context.
Why not settle into frame?
Space? I took it up.

Time will say she made heat
with the best of them.
I broke down like a time machine.
I lived, irreversibly.




I accumulate data, aggregate data.
Most unwillingly. Each cell is a carrier

of a larger organism. This is my body:
it holds up my mind, it takes me

to and from the office. Most of my fears
revolve around maintaining it.

When bombs go off, I scroll through
my news feed—time won't load any faster.

When I mention the bombs, coworkers ask which bombs?     
I qualify by city, and populate the specifics.

I sign a list of petitions. I forward clips
of the scene: people running very differently,

people speaking very differently.
I track updates beneath a sheet of air-conditioning.

Whatever great pressure pushes down
from the clouds, it does not want life

to be about clarity. Age wasted on the aged.
Wait here. Just be in awe of it.






These poems center around the Internet as a sort of apocalypse, its creation an immediate shift in the way we navigate the world. For me, a big part of that is the juxtaposition of immediacy and perspective. I've found myself telling intimate stories in broad context—individual experiences cast against a great expanse of time; personal traumas placed beside public tragedies. I'm interested in how the emotional scale of things is so different from the scale of things.