David Dodd Lee

Ungulate in the Penthouse of the Winter Tick

It came insinuating itself up the stairway tower—


giant lonely great–hall where I trembled purposefully

        between the
cries of atoms. You may surmise I have no idea what

        I'm talking about. It's the slow heart. My cave in the fauna
rich nursery, an australopith’s tilted pelvis. I was never so

        civilized; rather
looming up stairs like a moose thinking inwardly about

dark, deep water. Introversion is a celebration of being,
or else. Or else, I die smiling with you, sister. My white

        skin under
hair, ridiculous narrative of the egg, until I pigment–out, sinking

into the cross–referenced strands of some evolutionary path,
too dumb to love it though. My color releases its secret…


The Mute Button

A pause is what fills the bottom
of the stairwell. The rest of the windows

        are paintings.
Like a train swallowing a beam of

shadowy air. Her story ends and mine
begins. I sigh, press “play.” Usually no one

        is watching.
A cottonwood splits. Half of it silently

crashes to the ground. When the neighbors wake up
the yellow house across the street appears to be empty,

flying in and out of the open windows.

David Dodd Lee is the author of ten books of poems, including a second book of Ashbery erasures, And Others, Vaguer Presences, forthcoming in late 2016.