We, who always felt way in over our heads,
were still trying to tell how we got hung up–
yet we’d already found new ways to get by,
by the skin of our teeth. We watched the others:
when our cartons dropped, eleven eggs would crack,
all the yolks run out; but nothing of theirs broke–
and we always left behind some telltale tracks.
Our tragic feelings seemed opposed to reason:
the boy was taken by arthritic hands that said,
“This is me; but these will be your hands someday–”
and though the young girl’s neck wasn’t yet broken,
pictures of her body lay trembling within
those places where “Life may give you a reduced
sentence,” they said, “but never gets you released.”
As fires return to the hands that started them,
fire became like any other anxious word
to save for the occasions when we’d savor
someone falling in love with somebody else,
two sensibilities meeting, then meeting up
with the unpacking of their baggage, setting up
for some new detours inside of their darkness…
Now, everyone’s getting ready again for
the advent of summer, the summit, putting out
new questions like soft feelers into gardens,
so that their eyes, of very deep blue, that wax
against other people’s bodies may seem
less dangerous, even unremarkable–
like anything else that rests or rots within.
As we come back down by way of rocky slopes,
the stones’ sounds, answering, seem the only sense
that might survive. In our case, we overlap
on our own internal maps, as certain as
the stopped clock, the hairbrush, fallen hair inside
the basin– found, like our memories of this place
where we dug up some old bones once, descending.
David Schloss was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1944, and attended Columbia, U.S.C. Cinema School, Brooklyn College and The Iowa Writers Workshop (MFA, 1967). He has been a Professor of English, first at Cincinnati, 1968-74, then Miami (OH), 1974– .
His books and chapbooks include: The Beloved (Ashland, 1973); Legends (Windmill, 1976); Sex Lives of the Poor and Obscure (Carnegie Mellon, 2001; Greatest Hits (Pudding House, 2004); and Group Portrait From Hell (Carnegie Mellon, forthcoming, 2006).