text mode CrossConnect previous next

Issue Contents
E-mail Us
   c a l y p s o    m i n o r

--- E D   P A V L I C

Plenty folks think we're twins.
By age 18, we'd both secretly wished
that it was true, & that it wasn't.
Since we were 9 we met
here on stealth banks of August.
Each year another Savior &
sweet thanks be to Jesus for
that old row boat.  Apart from
watches & sky dates, you know
to meet me when the moon's
down.  When I was five or six,
I'd bend a coffee can into a scoop
& hunt the mud banks for 
crawfish. I remember when 
we met & my instructions:
"the whole trick with blue pinchers
is getting in behind without
setting off a stir on their tail." Now
in August, by 9pm my head's
full of scuppernong blossoms. So
we cast off past wisteria & into
the river's night silk edge.
Empty skins of tree snakes 
or ash vibrissa of the canopy,
green-gray tangles of moss
wisp past my cheeks, fall out
of an eery lullaby like strands
of my grandmother's hair. No moon,
if I spark my lighter, willows
young & old pretend they don't
breathe in the dark, 
don't slip thru nights in tangos
with cypress & Saturn tuned
in to underwater trombones. In posed
detach, they stand like a big-city
crowd at a bus stop, & just reach
off the bank for elbow room. Come 
out that white blouse & upside down,
you watch open lilies fall away
like your daddy's parachute
into the Mekong Delta. A back
bend, arched over the bow,
your bare torso slips thru a
summer breeze, cuts a svelte hush
in the cicada din like a pale gash
torn past my lips thru a freshly starched
sheet. A full inhale & momentum
to zero at a nipple's cusp in julep
& metonymy. Light-plays off
my chrome Zippo, Hershey's
kisses harden into rose thorns &
dense as a shut eye's faith in tarot.
My name, dry as dust in a wind
song, vanishes into steamed woods
& gut-heavy air like sweat
into a prayer for rain
on a high sun-burnt Nevada playa.
We take on water
in each Decatur Street groan
for Mercy between celestial
apocrypha & shady whereabouts.
It's far too late & a damned
site too humid for Esperanto or
one-eyed jacks; to pull the moon
back with cracked oars curved
like bleached elephant tusks
you better mean it,
each dip thru the whispers of myrrh
& swirl. My shirt wet-slapped
to my back. It's about time
for round two. Oceanus
descends with an acetylene tear &
dreams of a blue tip, a cool
flame; the other eye's been
gone for years, blind & lid
turned cold side out.

© crossconnect, inc 1995-2006 |
published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania's kelly writers house |