12 Degrees & Skiving

what began as year-long challenge has become perpetual until further notice

1994 & Inventory of Imaginings

for my lost one

1994

What is it now you see?
The inside workings
of my dreams? The cogs,
the mechanisms.
Am I at last understood, then?

You wanted a dozen babies,
never welcomed that I didn’t;
you didn’t pull that one off
but you got terra firma –

A petite cavern for a debutante.
Lips parched and pressing
satin without lustre.

Do you know he snatched
my candour, made
me timid of people and light –
made me covet dusk, revile the mirror,
misplace my comrades?

After the violent red blue flare of brilliance,
The timbre of diminishing orders,

What is it now you see?

The taut conveyer strap
interlacing us, is tardily perceived
when retrospection haunts
retinal echoes.

My cogs catch fast in
days before, when we,

on ponies, were lulled in sunshine and heard
without comprehension the footfalls of each beast
upon the earth as they closely ushered you upon your belt.

They pilot me still.

If we’d swapped mounts – you upon my rhombus-headed
ride, I upon your remote grace – what then?

Would the solidity of me have become dissolute?
Would you have had your dozen babies?

An Inventory of Imaginings

filed in another poem
I said
I never
contemplated the play
of bone and sinew

ash is harder to hold in the mind
it is once, only
when breath
earth
water are given over to flame
everything is too large to see
nothing further than thought
nothing
that will stir with questions
the darker sleeping spaces

a body interred
bears the same framework
that held a heart
that beat
at a ground-kissing pace
in those last seconds
and days before,
when she and I whispered teenaged
worlds
politics
wrinkled our noses at boys
her misaligned top teeth
turned toward one another
as though conferring
she was saving to have them fixed
they’re still there
in a wider stance
grinning in the gloom
keeping company
with the stilled vibrations of the cymbals of her ear
with the etchings on the leg she green-sticked at ten
the slight left-hand veer of septum
the cleft chin
six fillings
all here
and I’m here
while she’s off doing other things

did they take out her earrings?
I never asked
I par-read about fractures
contusions
the measure of a frame’s limits
these, too, must be
the inventory of imaginings
I lied about in another poem.

pictogram1

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