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October 5, 2016 | Poetry

Two Poems

Jackson Burgess

Two Poems photo

Outside

I keep finding myself loitering in the snow, watching strangers clink their glasses through the window's frosted glare. In my Midwest apartment I am always scrolling through photos of friends in far places, remembering their tics, their catchphrases and perfumes. The song of skin on skin is always spliced with cold static. My tongue is too scared to speak. I lie in my driveway and watch jets saunter by and wonder if the woman I love is inside, sipping a Coke, adjusting her seat. I want to know why my voicemail won't stop coughing, why my bruises look like smiles. The graveyard is a nightclub, when viewed in the right light. A body is a bullet hole that can't be filled or sealed. Falling is a state of being. I am trying to break the glass.

 

Clutch

The ice grips the coffee
like spray paint holds a post.
Words are clingy shadows
drawing the ear
towards wet lips,
which is to say
they keep us apart.
I've been watching strangers
throw gazes in bars,
fluent in dog whistle talk
only the walls accept.
In the diner all the mugs
stacked in clean rows
are more grave than gravestone.
I like a cold stout
before anyone has wiped the foam—
through the amber flow
I can't tell if I'm looking in
or a stranger is looking out.
An exposed belly
cradles the end of a screwdriver
much like a vice grip
holds a tongue.
The only reason I feel secure
is that oil bleeds in rainbows
and scars don't peel away.
I remind myself
blood ambles veinways
only as long as it must.

 

image: Aaron Burch


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