Today's poem is by Erica Bernheim

Darwin Light

When a train goes too fast,
it shakes. You must stow your
self, like you know what two
o'clock means. A stewardess
and her Xanax will easily be
parted, even sugar and cream
is a less natural combination,
even the sight of an old woman
putting on lipstick makes me cry,
my eyelashes black stucco, your
hands become rays again, flat and lethal.
I could place you in the middle of
those tracks, set you down, tiny, and
walk away. I was invisible and now
I am just fading. I was among
people I could not speak to and pressed
my fingers through a bruise
because there was nothing
to get stuck on. I saw those
behind me die with eyes no one
knew about, I lost sight of you, the moon
abandoned the sun, agreed to leave
the moon alone and not call so late.
I am feathered, alone. What I want:
twin squid babies suckling my tomorrows
the way deeply sour candy still tastes good
—to have that clamp around the heart—
two squids, four eyes, one with smaller feet.
Love depends on its moment of arrival,
the moment they began to split. Or maybe
too late, a lady with piss-colored hair
is struck from the curb and hits her face against
the gutter in December, puts her hand
to your belly and tells you luck has nothing
to do with the You In There and one day
these twin boys will be tall men who run
around tracks, spaces that seem wide open,
shifting like bad narrators. Who follows me
with swansdown, gray boxes with 3-D borders,
silver-tongued fountain pens, a magnifying
glass so scratched it would reverse itself
to work again. Nothing here is all right, no
one wants to go home. When I lived
on land, not even the sea would forgive me.
Tell me about other abodes, trailers wide
enough for two of what, the ice in a snapshot,
different kinds of holes—over-warm and smelling
of motor oil. Show me where you built
this hutch, how someone else filled it
with plastic forks and a Sears catalogue.
Hold still. I will know your wishes,
if you can move time. I am tied
to this monster. And you think
of worlds and cut-glass families,
transparent and clean, sharp like motion.
There is nothing abstract in that laughter.
There is nothing for us to talk about.
I want nothing from you, save tongue.
You are nothing to me, save muse.
My knees are pressed together like
an Egyptian girl with wafers on her lips. I am
beginning to dislike the man with the whip.
If you hear of me, I might say no listening
allowed. Just like that, on faith, on hope,
on chastity. I fail miserably. Whatever you put on
first is full of air, digital bibles, cunning
methods of listing the sins of your fingers.
Blow up this beautiful emptiness and set
the tableau in Mexico: we should have sold
out. An unknown reason named you
is the cause of this, and I trip on the stairs
but nothing falls out of place. Eclipse
means abandonment.

Copyright © 2012 Erica Bernheim All rights reserved
from The Mimic Sea
42 Miles Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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