by Brad Trumpheller
In any kind of two-way glass daffodil there’s the night
I put on my lover’s dress & it fit me like a renaissance.
Snap the shoulder straps in time with the streetlights.
Click click goes the clock I disregard on principle. My,
what a wick you have. What an ankle-length shadow
I’m faking. My loud glade. My glued-shut bone gate.
Walk like this, go all the fairy lights. Put your hips
into me. Who gets undressed in this kind of story?
Click click. It’s so heaven of us to think of anything
as untimely. My mom’s thumb smearing the lipstick
off my collar, my mouth. I learned speech first
as distance, second as costume jewelry. I don’t have
a lover. Any poem I wear a dress out of is a lie.
Who would remember me myself otherwise?
a man plants another mans skull
in the grass & thats how we arrive
at religion. crab apple ritual rights
of passage. like any good weed
god winds up our spines like yarn.
cotton-lined coffin. spindle litany.
like any good crop god has roots
in man wanting profit. the dead
good for nothing but their seed
& estates. our plot of earth. this
box built to rot in. this past passed
down to us through dialects & dirt.
whats tradition but calcified chaff
cut & counted as capital. whats
capital if not a bone torqued
towards her own bone-red light.
according to stories all the men
in our family came back from war
& buried their dog tags in the same
land they would later be laid beneath.
i have nothing to say about that.
these trees grieving so materially;
these leaves weeping in their seasons
Miracles keep making everything
complicated and this year I’m trying to care less about names, especially yours,
so I’m pulling an Adam and switching everything’s name tags around, like now
you’re the mayor and now you’re crouched at the chopping block, or like see that bird
well now it’s a sleeping bag full of quartz which means no one is going to bed
until I say so, but don’t worry, the best shortcuts to wonder are the ones that sound
scariest, or was it simplest, like the camouflage cargo shorts I found flapping sadly
on the flagpole after my overdose, or how many candles I burned through
when you left, anyways look again, I’m keeping busy by peeling all the wax
off the television while you watch from the bed, and this time your name
is Harry Styles which means I’ve very nearly forgotten everything about you,
and the blankets are made out of wrapping paper, which makes us present,
and that’s a bad joke but who can stop me, Harry, who can stop me when I’m skipping
down 6th Avenue in the middle of a blizzard making everything shinier by snapping
my fingers like poof!, there goes the rat rooting through trash, now it’s the same rat,
just gold, and I wish someone had told me earlier that I was allergic to most forms
of jewelry, or that you can’t get cum out of wrapping paper without praying
but what if I told you that wasn’t even sex we were having, it was really parcheesi
and neither of us remembered the rules, neither of us remembered anything
except how to tie two cherry stems together in each other’s mouths, and honestly
Harry, I’d trade in this whole fake garden for that feeling again, I’d crack open
each wheezing green and send all the pots sailing through the windows,
but until then come look at the daylilies, the petunias and dumb shrubbery,
come look at what the snow has not beheaded, the snow which here when walked on
does not dirty, does not change, because more than anything I wish I could keep making
everything happen for the first time, like snow, like meeting you, before you
were Harry Styles, before they invented pop stars and flutes still made the swans
panicky, back when the world felt knowable, when it was just you and me, adjusting
each other’s veils in that very-green-forest,
sipping the suddenly blushing water from our matching alabaster mugs.
Brad Trumpfheller is a poet and bookseller from the South. Their work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Poetry, jubliat, Washington Square Review, The Nation, and elsewhere. They co-edit Divedapper, and currently live outside of Boston. Their chapbook, Reconstructions, will be out from Sibling Rivalry Press next year.