Translated from the Russian
One notices without fidelity
how moss covets stone
and ice crystals build
themselves into cold dirt.
Existence repays the favor
and it becomes easier to love
parenthetically, without ever
mentioning the breasts.
Instead, one is thinking
of people in cafes. One is
attempting to pinpoint creation
in the way keys disappear.
Searching for Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge and I sit on a leather couch drinking haywire.
There is nothing left to do but look for someone we don’t know.
Whistles of creation are sounding and it is birdie birdie birdie to the lips
and hair. Calvin Coolidge is an advent calendar. He is scenes behind
twenty-five closed doors. We are vaulting past the mongoose, we are
a confit of speed. Oh Calvin, what we’re required to forget might not
be much. With radio voices we sing the color of our eyes. We are over
fog, we are branches jutting through water. I tell Calvin Coolidge
of a bridge named for him and he says peacock. He does not darn socks,
Calvin does not have a good stone to his name. We digest the crucible.
We giggle, watching a turkey drive the car. The papers say it is time
for a relapse and we agree, our sweaters are too itchy. So we discard them
in chimneys and leave a little smoldering on the walk. Calvin Coolidge lies
down with dogs and we do nothing about light crashing back through
the world. We pull apples apart and pinch out their wispy blue flames.
We jostle all the babies and put them gentle down to bed. What do I keep
in my mouth amid the blinking goddess, all thrown back? Is it a bright
whip, is it where cantilevers burst forth in blue dress? Our necks tilt
like light fading. Calvin Coolidge and I sit on pillows made of waves and
watch the gamble alight on thin wire. Will he tell me his name again, will he
tie a feather to this hook? Our power is to carry people to places we seek.
Baskets in hand, we are starting off. Oh Calvin we are going this way.
My Mother was an Anthropologist
Driving along the underside of the planet
we keep old bones in the truck bed,
waiting for something to call autumn amid
birds with their beaks open to the heat.
I spread butter against the bread’s heart.
If you don’t believe everything captures
a soul, then perhaps you too are caught
in the gravity of sleep and wake? It’s
something like kissing lovers in dreams
but with a touch more salt and a new
ability to stop time—just long enough
to enjoy the experience of having earth
by the balls. Of driving backwards over
corn fields wherein you dropped many
mittens one winter while turning into
someone with a slightly taller shadow.
Laurie Saurborn Young’s Carnavoria is forthcoming from H_NGM_N.