from "Plan Upon Arrival"

7. Letters arrived in intervals, as with everything else one might come, one might not regardless of whether there’d been a response. We prepared at all times. Bent over. We dreamed things would be different. Every time the door opened we each smiled in a way to make clear we’d never seen our own face. 

8. An appendix washed up, pages current-smoothed, leaning funny. We stood and watched the skin stretched and sewn. The so-called imaginary, so-called interior, so-called paradoxical private sphere. 

13. Dailiness was the anxiety through which we waited. Buttons undone, like clearance. Not what we wanted but what we didn’t know we had to have. Private acts to attempt in public. Productive relationships to sites of violence. Lace-fronts. A dollar to run to the store. 

19. However useful, the language was degrading, incompatible and lacked necessary verbs. The ability to compress, overflow and alter the landscape through a low swollen hum. To smell strongly in the morning, at the grocery or over the phone. 

24. There were moments we were incapable of decision. An opening through which to register an image pungent through its own material law. A body pulled inward, door unlocked. Irresponsible to. That this moment would return. Return us. That this, and only this, would be the day. 

Related Poems

The Bathers, Cassis

It’s too hot to think much about the ochre cliffs of Cap Canaille
or the moan of a tour boat’s engines grinding through the aquamarine
                                                                                  of the Mediterranean.
I’m inside measuring the width of the white ribbon of the wake
like a long skin shedding itself from the exoskeleton of a Zodiac boat,
assessing valuations of finitude among my household property,
gazing at the bathers as they take turns diving off the limestone promontory
                                                                                  below and to my left,
lazily frog-kicking through the cerulean waters of Port-de-Cassis.

Their bodies are pale as salamanders as they scoot through
                                                                                  the zaffre and viridian
back to the rock-toothed shore where they pull themselves up,
amphibian-like, stunning the air with their glistening bodies.
It is a sensate joy that releases like ecstatic vapor
                                            from off their skins and sea-drenched hair.
A hand has touched them and pass’d over their bodies,
                                                                     but not over mine.

If I were to walk a serrated shore, worn by wind and the idylls
                                                                                           of companionship,
I’d be twenty again and arrogant as Icarus
making survey of his father’s domain,
scanning the surface of the sea for a boil of sardines
glinting like a scatter of coins.
Preposterously, I’d glance neither to my left nor to my right,
and launch myself straight into a dive of my own,
unshowy and silent as I cut the immaculate waters,
joyous only in the theater of my own being, alone
as the brown salts that dry on the stoic, limestone lips of the sea,
unconsecrated by touch, the liquidinous mask of my face
submerged and upturned, trailing shrouds of sapphire and indigo.