MN poetry: Dobby Gibson’s “What it feels like to be this tall”

Dobby Gibson is the author of two books of poetry: Polar, (Alice James Books, 2004) and Skirmish (Graywolf Press, 2009). He lives in Minneapolis.

What It Feels Like to Be This Tall

Not one of my costumes is believable.

I’m constantly away on business.

The morning, chiropractic, saddles me

beneath its colossal gravity.

In search of a breath, kneeling at the shallows,

the minnows scatter.

Wind farms hum atop the prairie.

Wilt Chamberlain’s bones groan from their earthen locker.

In my most private thoughts,

radio signals from distant lands

argue invisibly over static,

and like an ice-cream headache,

the only thing worse than feeling this way

is not having a reason to feel this way,

hoping against hope, against nature,

versus self – I miss you all so much. Send money!

I don’t have a fight song,

yet isn’t that alone reason enough to fight?

Let the academics roll their eyes.

Faced with a progressively larger fork

for every subsequent course,

at some point, even my belongings began to mock me.

I couldn’t eat another bite.

I’m starving.

Whatever you love most

is just another thing for me to bonk my head on.

I can’t even trust a kite.

Above the rest of you, from the back row

of my second-grade class photo,

Kristin Dahlberg and I could see giraffes migrate the Serengeti.

Our knees ached with empathy.

Their hearts were as big as basketballs.

Tribal drums called us from the distance.

The distance called us from the distance.

Soon, everything would get knocked over,

and yet we would come in peace.

— “What It Feels Like to Be This Tall” by Dobby Gibson, from his collection of poems Skirmish. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher, Graywolf Press.

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