Audio: Read by the author.
We were given all we could handle.
You didn’t think it was much—a housecat
deliberate in every step, a cape
of myrtle, live and bursting panicles
azalea in color. Beneath the petalfire
a stone, large enough to nibble into shape
with wind or river, and time.
we kept secrets. It was a choice.
_____Even before wet fruit fell
to my outstretched hand, the one
animal we couldn’t name was of our own
making—the sinuous rill that spoke
in whispers, Fata Morgana’s grand illusion
far-off, floating upon the ocean’s
_____Before, when this was all
there was ever going to be, it was
enough—us and the river’s confluence
—passage through deep blue uniformity;
no king-tide, no crack-tooth
wood slumbering under brine, no
clastic walls to block or cinch
the change that comes beneath seasons;
bands of sun ripped through slats.
The one thing I’m certain you created
is desire, different forms of it,
cut from the same bone far and
high in the night. There was
no perfection in the cloak
and rabbit way you divulged it.
You spoke of a final day with fields
shorn, crow burst from dead
husks of corn, nutrition stripped
from the fattened calf saddled with worm
and proliferating. Your revered words
called unreadable and kept empty
in that box, too powerful to speak
into being, will be plucked from
the earliest star to drop as a palm
through a fly.
Nicolas Visconti is a writer currently living in Brooklyn. He has a poem forthcoming in Prelude.