Pantea Karimi © 2017 All Rights Reserved
A twine of lightning snaps a red Cessna into a toy. A boy
with a field of winter
wheat in his hair collects the shrapnel, makes science
out of flying metal.
And this is how it goes. One thing sings while another bone
breaks. The world goes missing
in the eyes of lost soldiers. Witches hover longer than gravity
will allow. Call it rope
logic, the fear that no one will ever fear you. Still the rain spits
down like the teeth of all those
the good lord keeps out. So we flood the streets. We wave
like shadows who stop believing
in anything but the history of mimicry. Germany
holds a word for having
nostalgia for something you’ve never experienced. I call it death
or someone on the other end
of the line, grinning, telling me to take his hand and point through
my chest. These are the questions
I ask of the dark: what are you waiting for? How long
will it take you to name me?
We destroyed each other with the rotting jaw
bones of executed cattle. Wild poppies
unbuttoning the field like unanticipated sex.
This the year when heat was measured
by the number of highway turtles flattened
into dimes. The year everyone left
their commitments. So we siphoned the tar
out of turpentine. Smoked the god
out of good. We went junkyard chainsaw lipstick
on each other’s faces. Hands dissolving
under the halogen sun like snake skin. Forklift
ghosts. Coral rust smoke. I swear we swore
in blood mysteries. Gave hate something
to pine for. We were never kidding, never kids
licking anything but the cold hiss of radio
wire, prison shiv, secrets we’d soon discover
were waiting for us the whole time. Toothless.
Philip Schaefer’s first collection Bad Summon won the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize from the University of Utah Press and will be released in 2017. He also won the 2016 Meridian Editor’s Prize in poetry. Poems appear in Kenyon Review, Thrush, Guernica, Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. Philip lives in Missoula.
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