Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kerning by Ann Cefola

Don’t give me that stenography crap,
the designer says, protesting two spaces
inserted after each period. Let me tell you what happens
when you do that:
In the text you create rivers of light.
But, I want to say, spaces tell me to stop. Breathe.

They are waiters bringing tropical drinks with paper umbrellas. Twin beds
made up perfectly. Binocular lenses that form
one image. Miles of thought
after reading a billboard. The weekend. Systolic and diastolic pumps.
Good fences that make good neighbors. A swim lane’s
quivering blue lines.
ex machina.

Give me a canoe. I will paddle those illuminated waters,
salute capitals and glide over run-on sentences like rapids. Yes,
the river will take me. Past misspellings and dangling participles.
Don’t dam them up. Text is tantric, it must stop
to be savored, to be full. Save the double spaces!
You must be reminded to—as the counterman
sighs when you hunt for change,
Take your time.

Ann Cefola is the author of Sugaring (Dancing Girl Press, 2007) and translator of Hélène Sanguinetti’s Hence this cradle (Seismicity Editions, 2007). Her Web sites are and; chapbook:, and translation:

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