"An Insistent and Eager Harmoniousness to Things"

David Keplinger

                —David Abram
 

Like an enormous leech the pancreas lies with its head tucked into the duodenum, upside down, the tail outstretched over it, an animal curled in on itself. In the preserve jar of the belly, it wriggles like a strange, medieval cure. When we sleep, Anicka, the pancreas secretes its juices, reverting tonight’s toutlerre into Germanic syllables again: cake, meat, blood. All of this healing is out of our hands. I turn to you, completely unconscious. Completely unconscious, you turn to me.

More by David Keplinger

View from Outside

He didn’t want the EKG. He didn’t want
To know. But the nurse attached
Its greasy patches to his chest to read.
From which all things spray violent
And out, there is a point of singularity.
In Michelangelo’s sculpture of the heart,
For instance, the heart wears the costume
Of David’s body. In the eyes of the Judean
There is no fear of what the heart has made.
You are going into cardiac arrest, this nurse said.
That’s when he saw the thing the other way:
Something mute sat like a stone
Inside the clenching and unclenching of his heart.
He had the stone. Only it would pay attention.

Wave

Lincoln, leaving Springfield, 1861,
         boards a train with a salute: but it is weak.
To correct it, he slides his hand away
         from his face as if waving, as if brushing
the snows of childhood from his eyes.

The train is coming east. In the window
         Lincoln watches his face. You’ll grow old
the moment you arrive, he says to this face.
         But you will never reach great age. The train
speeds like the cortical pressure wave

in the left lateral sinus, say, a bullet
         in the skull. Then he will have his salute.
Then they will love him. Then eternity will slow, fall
         like snow. Then the treaty with huge silence
which he, his face exhausted, must sign.
 

Related Poems

The Ear is an Organ Made for Love

       (for Me-K)

It was the language that left us first.
The Great Migration of words. When people
spoke they punched each other in the mouth.
There was no vocabulary for love. Women
became masculine and could no longer give
birth to warmth or a simple caress with their
lips. Tongues were overweight from profanity
and the taste of nastiness. It settled over cities
like fog smothering everything in sight. My
ears begged for camouflage and the chance
to go to war. Everywhere was the decay of
how we sound. Someone said it reminded
them of the time Sonny Rollins disappeared.
People spread stories of how the air would
never be the same or forgive. It was the end
of civilization and nowhere could one hear
the first notes of A Love Supreme. It was as
if John Coltrane had never been born.