and when they find my notebooks,
they will describe them as
the stir before the cavalcade,
and babbling and bearing more
they will rip
and harder until
raw spines are revealed,
new words are used (epicene),
and each page neatly
the desired sexual effect—
aspirational sigh, sweatless and
reserved for the strong-nosed
the men of tiny disciplines.
these men knew so little of what they
sat to explain
but then again,
maybe it was the curves,
little and collected and
dark, pitch purple, slum-
maybe too much lived there,
pretending to be marble,
but stubbled some
and kinked some
and toilsome and
times and always
maybe there was too much to leave behind,
and i wanted too much to feel
like the seventh day, or
a little recital girl,
dressed up like Sunday,
giving songs to parents’ friends,
waiting for thunder,
learning to want
father once felt he knew what cars explained with honks. even
while asleep, he made notes of their chatter-boxing, complaining
of close-listening that made for strong whispers, lapsing with the day.
then, each word saved or shared was severe—nothing too sharp.
daybreak hardened in his palms to spite grey nights amidst, or mist-
mornings, or birthdays. who gives these lines life, we’d ask. how do they grow?
now, he lets his hands rest in geraniums. the way they lay and festoon
against warm steel makes for chambers of recreation and recreation.
sit, grow, purple and repeat. brother thinks us less than dried fruit.
there, on the fourteenth floor, he sits with Ragtime (a dog’s name) and
watches each remembering held closer by passersbys.
they cradle mirrors tight like just-borns you know. each doze and
dream of the dusk they’ll soon trade for dust—and the pigeons, and
their laughing. he’d swear they’d dance if his cranesbills could fall
fast enough to grab them. he’d swear they’d break the banjo, staring
at or into themselves. the glass would echo still, revealing
brass bands, cakewalks, and piano rolls yellowing in
maple colored desk drawers. what sounds did he once make?
—more sycophantic than sonic, patient and patient.
then, he had so much time; it expanded his lungs
like light or sighs, soon released for the waiting. it poured.
it is today. evenings make pulpits of lampposts—pews of stoops.
traffic ensues. Ragtime remarks, who gave these lines life?
staring, father measures the sorts of these in mouthfuls.
Featured image by A♥.