Wednesday, February 21, 2007

POEM: What Remains by Zachary Sussman

On the nightstand, a glass of water,
a blank mirror: you’ve grown more remote
than either, the fan of your ribcage
now opening, now closed,
in time with the rasping pipes.

You’ve entered a place behind your eyes
where nothing can reach you, ignorant
of the ivy loosening the mortar, the bright
stain of the harbor, the brass clock
I forgot to wind.

Outside, if it matters, a man lights a fire
under a bridge. He has stood
a long time in the trashcan’s shadow,
waiting for the heat to bless him.

Even as the flames perform their work,
weaving a thin bandage
of smoke above the rooftops,
some cavity in his chest
still shivers under his flannel shirt.

There are places in the body
we cannot find or name.
So I am left in a room
the shape of your sleep

as the headlights of a passing taxi
graze the curtains like brushstrokes,
falling over the bedposts
until your limbs, before darkening,
are remade entirely out of light.

... posted to TMP with permission of the author

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