Smoke, and bent grass,
the earth rippling underfoot.
A child throwing stones
but never at random.
You wonder that one suggests
laughter, as a second draws tears.
Still, it drags you in.
Like water seeking its level,
a depression that must be fed.
You ride that deep current
never questioning its source,
complete in the moment. Filled.
Edgar Meyer’s music removes me from my body, transports me to another plane, one free of politicians and avarice, a place where truth matters. Today has been a good day to listen, to absorb. And hey, those fellows he’s playing with ain’t too shabby…
Or well-placed mirror in a sunburnt room, shivering through shifted
images: that hand, blackened and stout, opened like a dark peony;
the tattooed chin; shovel and torch; hook and owl. You say no one
chooses one fist over another, that bread’s rise completes its cycle
and begins anew, pressed flat and rounded. Take this heart and seal
its chambers. Note the anterior descent. Compression, lesion. Plaque.
Consequence. And your friend, who slept, never to awaken. Lying
in that strange bed, you taste salt, acknowledge change, whisper
to no one: audible house…audible tree, knowing that time’s limit
remains unclear. The air swirls and you accept this new light.
Note: “Audible house…audible tree” is from Jane Hirshfield’s “Not Moving Even One Step,” from The Lives of the Heart.
But your breath could melt a glacier at three
miles, she says, and then we might consider
the dirt under your nails, the way you slur
your sibilants, and how you seldom see
the cracked eggs in a carton, a downed tree
branch in front of you, the ripened blister
of paint in the bedroom, or your sister
lying drunk on the floor in her own pee.
Back to your armpits. Do you realize
we could bottle that aroma and make
a fortune? I inhale it and forgive
your many faults. The odor provokes sighs
and tingles, blushes I could never fake.
Ain’t love grand? Elevate those arms. Let’s live!
Never in my wildest dreams did I envision writing a poem about armpits. But the August 2015 Tupelo Press 30-30 challenge, and Plain Jane, the title sponsor, provided that opportunity. This first appeared here in April 2016, and was subsequently published in Algebra of Owls. Many thanks to editor Paul Vaughan for taking it.