A I D /I/ S A P P E A R A N C E

from Joan Retallack’s PROCEDURAL ELEGIES  / WESTERN CIV CONT’D /
forthcoming from Roof Books (New York)

A I D /I/ S A P P E A R A N C E
for Stefan Fitterman

1. in contrast with the demand of continuity in the customary description
2. of nature the indivisibility of the quantum of action requires an essential
3. element of discontinuity especially apparent through the discussion of the
4. nature of light she said it’s so odd to be dying and laughed still it’s early
5. late the beauty of nature as the moon waxes turns to terror when it wanes
6. or during eclipse or when changing seasons change making certain things
7. disappear and there is no place to stand on and strangely we’re glad

A I D S
for tefn Fttermn

1. n contrt wth the emn of contnuty n the cutomry ecrpton
2. of nture the nvblty of the quntum of cton requre n eentl
3. element of contnuty epeclly pprent through the cuon of the
4. nture of lght he t o o t be yng n lughe tll t erly
5. lte the beuty of nture the moon wxe turn to terror when t wne
6. or urng eclpe or when chngng eon chnge mkng certn thng
7. pper n there no plce to tn on n trngely we’re gl

B H J C E R T
fo fn Fmn
1. n on w mn of onnuy n uomy pon
2. of nu nvly of qunum of on qu n nl
3. lmn of onnuy plly ppn oug uon of
4. nu of lg o o yng n lug ll ly
5. luy of nu moon wx un o o wn wn
6. o ung lp o wn ngng on ng mkng n ng
7. pp n no pl o n on n ngly w gl

F GK Q U
o n mn
1. no n w m no on ny no my pon
2. o n nvly o nm o on n nl
3. lm no onny plly pp no on o
4. no l o o yn nl ll ly
5. l y o nmoon wx no own wn
6. o n l pow n n no n n mn n n
7. pp n no pl o no n n nly w l

L P V
o n mn
1. no n w m no on ny no my on
2. o nny o nm o onn n
3. m no onny y no on o
4. no o o y n n y
5. y o n moon wx no own wn
6. o now n n no n n mn n n
7. n no o no n n n y w

M O W
n
1. n n n n n y n y n
2. n n y n n n n
3. n n n y y n n
4. n y n n y
5. y n n x n n n
6. n n n n n n n n n
7. n n n n n n y

N X
1. y y
2. y
3. y y
4. y y
5. y
6.
7. y

Y
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.


Author’s Note:
The disappearance moves through the letters of the alphabet (and the source text) in this way: Beginning with letters A I D S, it spreads to adjoining letters B H J C E R T, to F G K Q U,to L P V,to M O W,to N X,to Y.
Part of the text in the first stanza is from “The Atomic Theory and the Fundamental Principles underlying the Description of Nature” in The Philosophical Writings of Niels Bohr, Volume 1, Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature. Woodbridge, Connecticut, 1987.


This poem was composed in 1994 and first published in Object 5 (1995): it was first collected in Retallack’s 1998 collection How to Do Things with Words. For a discussion of this poem, see “AIDS and the Postmodern Subject: Joan Retallack’s ‘AID/I/SAPPEARANCE’” by Bryan Walpert, Poetics Today 2006 27(4):693-710.