I had a body and it was good

until you gave it meaning.

Meaning ruined pleasure

and created it

so ruin creates

and pleasure’s meaning

I didn’t ask for just lived through

a gate that shrieked each time

it opened and on the street

we passed one another

flicking our eyes at then away from

the bodies made boring

by the small clamors that drown out

the one large clamor.

Something in the tree is arguing with the tree?

No that’s just the tree.

“Tautology” Copyright © 2018 by Ari Banias. Originally published in BathHouse Journal. Used with the permission of the poet.

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

From Ariel, published by Harper & Row, 1966. Copyright © 1966 by Ted Hughes. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.