The wind blows outlines of our bodies into our clothes.
It took me six tries to say that. I miss you
when things go wrong. I wonder if you feel
like God feels: no one notices the clouds
except in context: sunset, temporary
intervals of interrupted heat. Hold out your hand.
They will be there again tomorrow.
When it comes to family, there is never enough
self-corrected blindness, no turning away
from the relative ease with which we commit
each other’s deeds to memory. Much like setting a table.
When the time is right each place will be cleared:
sometimes picked up piece by piece, sometimes
swept asunder in a crashing swoop. (He or she who removes
the shrapnel depends entirely on the day of the week).
And there it was—you missed it—pinpointed across the room:
a glance, quick, obviously, but telling.
You are the stranger here. Your uttered disruption
draws lines of longitude somewhere between stranger to love.
No ship sails in a straight line. Familiarity looms
on the horizon. No—there. Just a bit lower.
Somewhere between skin and the soul
a rope dangles
Punctured through the heart
or where the heart should be
a man drawn on a cardboard box
shakes his blank-faced fist
at the sun
fusing with the sidewalk like ghosts
The exit wound holds its shape
what pours forth
Calvin Olsen was born and raised in Meridian, Idaho, the small town that continues to inform his writing. He holds an MFA from Boston University where he received a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship to translate in the Iberian Peninsula. His poetry and translations have appeared in Salamander, New Haven Review, SWAMP, eXchanges, and Lay Bare the Canvas: New England Poetry and Art, among others; and he has presented work at a variety of venues, including TEDxNewEngland and the Blacksmith House Poetry Series. He currently lives and teaches in Boston and can be found on Twitter @cal_olsen.
Featured image by Kenny Ong. See more of his work at flickr.com/kennyong. Prints available upon request.