I wished I could make the faces again
dirty mirror, dirty tile
I thought you were kind of unknowable.
Sharing a hostel room in the soapy light of the street
that was an old way of living: cleanly.
The bedside tables get piled up.
Behind glass in the sopping night you were a perfect stranger
and too well dressed
not to have someone to wait for.
My peripheral vision is busier than ever
dark figures in the recollections
papers fluttering in the underground wind.
If you hold your head in your hands long enough
it starts to feel like an object
you can turn over and inspect from all angles.
It’s like a squash you can cut open
to find the rotten seeds, seeds like anxious thoughts
entrenched in the veiny flesh.
It’s like a snippet of conversation
caught through a car window.
It’s like the escalators all stopping at once.
They’re meant to be walked on
but there’s a moment when everyone who was on them
hasn’t started walking yet.
REALITY IN THE SPRINGTIME
I opened the window to the street
where callery pear petals swirled
then blew like new weather across cars and people.
I spat out seeds of star anise
and later, with no window by which it could enter,
I saw one petal falling in the stairwell.
The beginning and end
of the petal’s fall were obscured from me.
I didn’t see it until it was already falling
then it passed behind some boxes
where I couldn’t see it land.
Let’s say its path is like a hallway
or rather a skywalk, with no doors at either extent
so that it cannot be accessed
and the beginning and end are isolated,
a sudden mechanical ringing in your ear.
Only I did access it
possibly when I went through the door to the stairwell.
I thought the air around me might not be air
or else some barrier
between outside and in had dissolved.
I thought I may have cast the petal
off from my sleeve
but it was falling from very near the ceiling
which was much too high.
My friend told me sometimes
when she wakes in her new apartment
she is certain she is in a garage
we slept in once on a trip to Pittsburgh.
We never saw anyone else
not even the tenant who said we could stay there,
although Francis who was one of the nine others with us
said he saw someone
come downstairs very late
and individually inspect each of our sleeping bodies
so he kept his eyes half-closed.
In the morning the light
was a mixture of sun coming through
glass blocks and the fluorescent tubes
which had stayed on all night.
Otherwise the petal signifies
the coming of spring which happens
several times like
the flicks of a lighter before it takes.
Spring signifies beginnings
and I was accordingly born in it
but we have no symbol
for continuation that has been freed
from beginnings or ends
and laid on a counter like a section of intestine.
Summer might be closest
in its heat and length
and the way my life is always messiest then
but the petal was falling inside
on the day before my 24th birthday
which was also the end of the month.
There were so many borders
that somewhere had to overflow.