By Dylan Macdonald
She Can’t Stand Much Longer on the City 6 Bus
I wish she would
unzip her high-heeled shoes, and step
each arched foot
onto the black rubber
floor. The honeysuckle scent
of summer weighs upon her wrist, bending
it backward: the breeze lifts, gently, the growing golden grain–forever
taller than the grass could hope to be. I imagine
she spends her days sweeping
the fallen hair from the floor
of a barbershop; doing her part to keep our part
of the world. The ring, made of thread, on her thumb
stains, red, her thick, young
skin. Her toes
ache; the meat beside her left shin trembles.
I’d like to believe that, during her lunch break,
I Am Still on My Way
Doesn’t she know it’s spring? Thick pollen is in the breeze and there is a hedgehog in a
bush. I sneeze. The slow-walking woman, thirty yards ahead, keeps looking over her
shoulder. She doesn’t know me. She’s wearing a winter coat, has thick yellow hair. The grass
is uncut, and I’m so far from my home. Summer’s heat burns the bottoms of her feet, urging
her forward, but she wastes away her energy looking back at me. I wish I could pluck the
longest strand of grass from the damp earth and write, with it, a green message on the
papier-mâché sky: I am still on my way. She has almost reached the corner, now. A
sunflower field somewhere wilts, as a cloud shadows the sun. I pass the patch of grass where
we had lain, submerged, seasons ago. The grass looked as soft as the small clear hairs on
your earlobe, then. The slow-walking woman has fear in her face when she sees I’m still
here. If I wanted to hurt her, I would have done so seasons ago. Cold freezes my tongue,
and I can feel my lungs churn the lean wind fat; I cough it back into the air, where it sways,
white, for a moment, before falling. I wish she’d offer me her coat.
Living in the Moment: 5 a.m. on a Tuesday
There is a sink a bulb a door the checkered floor
faucets I feel heat from some
small somewhere I can’t recall the space
between the bottom of the door and the beginning
of the checkered floor water pours from the faucet
to my hand through my hand the sink the sink
the white, yellowing white, sink
where you washed the blush
from your cheek, sung out of key, and tasted
the stale air falling in from the windowsill above.
The shell of a crab, buried under the sand, floated
on the sea’s foam. Every frozen raspberry once shook
loose from a slumped bush: red and perennial.
We Stayed at a Best Western in Laval, Quebec for Two Weeks After Holly Died
We were easily affected by ideas–having to take the bus, for example,
kept us from visiting
the Bodies exhibit, which had a section dedicated to observing
the cardiovascular response to heart attacks.
Defibrillators were close by so that anyone who pleased could practice
shocking the heart
back into submission. The heart has only ever responded
to brutish force. We could have learned so much
at Musee Armand Frappier: how blood flows
against gravity, or what exactly skin is.
What is the sky made of beyond color?
Why doesn’t cherry ice cream taste
exactly like a cherry? A cherry is sensational.
Thin red fibers cling to the seeds we spit,
gaily, into the yard, hoping
that a cherry tree would grow. But the black squirrels eat
most of the seeds, and the others, I assume, lack potential.
Perhaps our ground lacks fertility.
They Don’t Want to See Your Eyes
They’d rather see
above your knee,
like the bald blackbird’s
the candy coating
from their medicine
to taste the bitter pill
They don’t want to see your eyes.
They’d rather hear
your cartilage crack
like the cement
the palm’s parched root
has pushed out of place,
the sun’s soft
glisten off the arch
of your wet foot.
They don’t want to see your eyes.