At these times I needed to touch him, to break through the plane of his isolation and mine. And so I’d perform the day’s first exercises. I called it taking him to the gym. I’d begin the part-by-part movement of his joints, each finger, the wrist and elbow, the shoulder, gently rotating, extending as far as the IV lines and equipment attached to his neck, arms, and legs would permit. Always glancing at the monitor to make sure the oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and heart rate didn’t move in the wrong directions. This was how I could tell him in a physical way that I loved him.
Helpful animal, let me borrow you
for waking into a late Tuesday morning.
The popular literature says I got
the right amount of sleep,
but does not say how to return
safely from sleep’s charcoal rot visions.
Enter the morning maladjusted
and be greeted accordingly. Seriously,
can you be hired away from your
ushering the dead to their judgment?
You are a whippoorwill to me,
because I get to choose not
how the waking world takes me in,
but what kind of animal the animal
that doesn’t appear to help me is.
On the telly, The British man wonders, “Why did the Roanoke settlers disappear? And what tore them asunder?” I must protest. Or confess. The settlers are not gone. They’re here. In my belly.
Picking Up Branches After A Wind Storm
- What numbness strung
- lateral like
- a taproot sky,
- where we assemble the lone
- and are among them.
- Sovereign of the dead, who
- would rise to greet you
- with these tall axils
- appearing before:
- needles like sea grass,
- low now in slow rot
- brown with the early
- spice of itself?
- So now
- my human eyes
- are yours
- blue-violet and strung
- to ground-clover.
- As what is
- myself, forgive me—I am
- a violent
- faulty thing.
The moon’s a doubloon over the bay where we live in our houseboat.
What numbness strung
a taproot sky,
where we assemble the lone
and are among them.
This is the next life! she says. No reckoning is coming.
Our new issue is here! Interviews with Bill Ayers and Lore Segal, fiction by Teresa Milbrodt and Mario Alberto Zambrano, poetry by Jaswinder Bolina and Sara J. Grossman, and dispatches from Syria, Israel and Palestine.
I came to poetry because I felt I couldn’t live properly in the real world. I was thirteen and in Algebra class. That was the day I decided I would be a poet for all time.