Today's poem is by Erica Bernheim

Summer Crookneck

Spineless beauty, I can say this—yes—to what's rocketing,
Tell me how to get you back, awareness and shame.
Who amongst us was not rudimentarily craven?
A flashlight that gives out after only one trip is still
worth hanging onto, and you think to ask why I re-
member what transpired, different each time the same.

The lake was beautiful and low, its surface pulled
so tight in places like chenille, it condensed, it stained,
remnants of roman candles and bottle rockets, phylogenetic
victims of an undefined and patriotic malaise.
My words are undoing me doing this work. One.
Walks. Through the rememorized surface,
nothing pushing against nothing.

A drought should end as slowly as it started.
There's no molding to this leg room, no shaking
free of superstition, rags with shirts around their edges.
Looking away is not enough. Start on the second floor;
withhold your eyes from entering. Built like a sand
castle, suckers for calamity, like we are going along with
this dead idea. Wickedness pushes me onwards. What we say:

nothing, and thusly, it vanishes. The distance between things,
between inappropriately understated eyes is far, hardly worth
trying to touch tongue to it. I ask for stratification and I mean
the clouds. There are many holes to a face. Pay special
attention to how the eyes continue following the trajectory
of the dropped object even following its recovery.

Speak to me speech so regular I can tell when
you'll miss the words. Autotroph, you are eating
my bones apart. Every day I see you for the first
time. How do we allow ourselves this openness?
It will not be you who catches my backwards motion
of yes. There is nothing between us but space.

Copyright © 2005 Erica Bernheim All rights reserved
from Backwards City Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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