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May 24, 2019 Poetry

Three Poems

Kathryn Merwin

Three Poems photo

One Night We Drove Through Yellowstone

I dreamt of a white bear last night,

like the ones in the rainforests

of Alaska. Landlocked, we dreamt

of whispering to them, shaking off

one country for another,

wildness and snow-swell

and the cold jaws of Canada.

Instead, we drove east,

straight into Wyoming,

brandy-soaked and wind-drunk,

forgot cardinal directions. This was unwise.

You didn’t like the way I tempted

the high water, the rush of maybe

you’ll drown me, the way I liked

to tease. Liked to sleep in the tall grass.

Carved maps into your body

and mine. Called for the bears, come, come,

lost somewhere in Yellowstone.

I let you geyser through me.

It’s true. These were gorgeous mistakes.

I want to make them again

& again & again. 

 

One Night We Drove Through Arkansas

I taste the rest of my life

on your teeth. My body was always

better at knowing than me. I was thinking

of how we left it -

all over the floor, spit & blood

on knuckles, jewel-toned toes,

femurs split; (my body) promise.

Angel boy, archipelago eyes, people like us

always have something to get over.

But we don’t gotta talk about it.

 

One night we drove through Arkansas.

The air sat heavy on the rim

of late June. I dreamt about a train

that night, pummeling through an empty mine.

I think there was some mystery to it,

something to solve. The phone

was ringing. My dress was dirty.

You were there too,

with your cloud of needles,

rope-ties for hands. You were blue-scaled,

hissing, copperheaded.

But we don’t gotta talk about it.

 

I woke with sheets twisted

around my throat

like my body was trying

to make a noose out of sleep. That was when

you said you couldn’t trust me

with it

(my body)

anymore. My favorite pain

is when you make me vanish

all at once, even before

I can take my tights off. Gouge out my ink

all over the floor.

But we don’t gotta talk about it.

 

Flower Moon

I’m wondering if you can still feel despite the nerve damage I'm wondering

how to cast a shadow puppet of a ghost if a ghost can have a shadow

I'm wondering why my teeth don't fit inside my mouth

why your knuckles fit perfect beneath my cheekbone I'm wondering

how to silence the rain how to catch a bullet between my fingers

how to forget about your fingers I'm wondering about the bruise

around the moon if the spring sky blues & aches for one more lip

of cold light I'm wondering how to stop the bleeding I'm wondering

what you could have done, didn't.

 

image: Aaron Burch


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