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July 12, 2013 | Poetry

6 Poems (plus bonus possum poem)

Bill Carty

6 Poems (plus bonus possum poem) photo

 

Sound for Fishes

Swim with a rock clutched between your teeth, apple-like. Have a friend do the same. Bang your rock against his rock. It will look like bad CPR. Sound is loudest underwater when it’s the last thing you hear.

 

Air in Plants

Celery, we know, makes a terrible boat, but it is part water and water is mostly air. Underwater, celery becomes something you can breathe through. Pliers left in the yard rust among the geraniums. Soon you will be able to breathe through them too. In fact, you can breathe through so many things that it’s helpful to have a plastic bag on hand, so you know what it’s like not to breathe, so you know how lucky you are.

 

Friction and Air

Retrieve the long, white balloon from the corner of the patio. Return it to the man who made it a comet. Challenge a friend to hold your drink. Challenge your friend to drink from a balloon. Challenge the balloon man to transmigrate heavier objects. Now try disappearing. It’s easy. Hide in a conversation that you keep bringing back to sports.

 

Bernoulli

Your uncle made you stand over the fry pan and tell him when the rice grains sizzled. During Jeopardy! commercials, he flicked the television off, closed his eyes, and began counting. His faith in repetition was astounding. Or was it prayer? You mulled the small movements of his lips.

 

Plants’ Breath

There’s a colony of drunken flies on the counter crawling in and out of a wine-trap. This is exactly how we ended up with so many lobsters: the technology was just bad enough. I place a cup of lime-juice next to the wine and thus begin one of humanity’s great experiments. I lie in bed all day and listen to the whir of photosynthesis. It is one of the fakest- sounding real noises. My least favorite hypothesis—autumn—gives us trees filled with nothing but pigeons.

 

A Mystery Flame

Moths flick in and out of the bar, none of them wanting to die a virgin. I sit next to a man for the third day running and say “what’s up” as if for the first time. Language is a contract of so many grays. When God finally takes back the schools, I wonder if he’ll answer Timmy’s questions about blowjobs and how he’ll teach the comma.

 

****bonus possum poem****

I’m Busting Out

I’m busting out, says the last test-taker
to the proctor. He speeds through
a condo complex where two men
fish a possum from the pool.
The possum’s nose is almost piglike
and therefore almost human.
Across the street a woman lifts a wreath
and breathes deep. She tastes it too.
There’s something over-caffeinated
about the holidays. The escaped boy
plucks the sweetest tendon from
the ham bone. He’s waited a long time
for this, yes, but others wait just as long
for ice cream on a week night.

image: Andromeda Veach


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