by Jackson Arn
You are waiting for me to do something.
I can tell because your eyes have the look cheap mirrors get
when the edges rust and curl and there is nothing
to do but throw them out. You’re powerless,
yes, but at least not alone, if that makes
it better. In fact your rusted tilt
is kind of sexy in the stray antlered way
I’d thought improper, but I need to think more.
As soon as I can hear my voice I’ll use it
to make a paragraph, a soft one
to rest on, or a shield. That is my
defense, like spitting or a blowfish-ball—
can you blame me? The house was an oven
that night. Guests were planted
around each vase, yellow jackets for yellow flowers.
I thought I saw your eyes reply, so I pushed
until you heard the scenery collapse, and me.
And finding you here now,
the delay is tasteful and not too ironic.
Regret is for people who haven’t found a place
for everything—did you take me
for one of them? Me? My thighs are swollen
with the hibernation, my back is a red
canyon of dust and grooves
remembered to the ground that nursed me, and still
we repel daintily, like ruined magnets
whose squirming is a kind of family.
Even when you go away you follow me.
Your going’s written upside-down on me,
predictably, which is a type of comfort. I will stagger
through roped-off run-down hallways
I’ll bluff my way through mirrors
and find graffiti-less brick walls,
and enjoy the possibilities: number one,
somewhere you’re seeing the same
and building something clever with it,
or plain in the gruff Shaker way
I never understood—building, anyway,
with the same junk I’ve got. And two,
you never went back, never climbed through
the frame, never remembered anything, or remembered
you’d forgotten a thing that weighed something,
and are still waiting for me to do something.