I must be all thumbs
to text this. Inside
any paused moment now
we each rehearse this
careful downward gaze.
So many intent inversions
we could be characters
who never discover what
words we might together
spell. Let’s say I lower
my eyes to pierce a distance.
Let’s imagine our fingers
touch. The moment I press SEND
I wait for you to return the part of me
I love to keep losing.
Far from sudden. Three damn days rubbing
my arm after stairs or cigarettes.
Halo headache jaw pain post push-ups
at the office, quite impossible.
Undressed by strangers in the E.R.
So long mignon, martinis, rich life.
I told you nothing. Your dad collapsed
in the lanai before your eyes. Then.
I felt this world returning to stone.
They stuffed my clothes in a plastic bag.
Self / Portrait
To the television, I stand in my living room
like a weatherman, pointing at maps. To the rosemary topiary
I smell like bread. To my Chihuly museum postcard collection,
I am sometimes made of light. To the sound of you
slipping off your shoes in the stairwell, I am a stone
touching the bare surface of a pond. To my parents who raised
two sons, I am a floating paper lantern mistaken for the moon.
To the third bird to strike my big bay window in as many weeks
I must be the reflection of a familiar path. And to any other person
but you, love, I might as well be a perfect stranger.
BRENT GOODMAN is the author of two chapbooks, Trees are the Slowest Rivers (Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press), and Wrong Horoscope (Thorngate Road), which won the Frank O'Hara Award in 1999. His work has been featured in Diagram, No Tell Motel, Court Green, Rattle, Poetry, Green Mountains Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, and Zone 3, among others. He lives in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, where he works as a creative professional. His full-length collection, The Brother Swimming Beneath Me is available from Black Lawrence Press.