--- 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 |