Initially they imagined another version of the heart of these leaves, those polished stones, our favorite flavors. There was the hope of listening, the idea of open palms without demand. Of gifting little & all. Of attainment, prior or post. There was the smooth brow sans toxin, the scent of honeysuckle, the delicate palate. There was the daydream of misery innocent of greed. The memory of sacred fur, retracted claws, the glow of wildflowers in deflected light. Gentle as independence, externally powered. Urgent as fellowship, as the illusion of adults acting their age. Playing their part. Carrying their weight. The children within screaming calumny. Old children torching the edifice of order. Facades crumbling in disgust. The orphan sea looming, curling into itself, drained of ambition. The enormity of the enormity.
—after “Deadlines” by James Tate
Where are the heroes of the rain? & who will quell the randy appetite of doom? A matter of fidelity & frost, of fur-lined cracks in bald bearings slyly borne from Birnam Wood to Dunsenane. As if missed tresses could muster the moxie to master this divide. As if victory without defeat. As if a ‘clean slate,’ glossed & glazed by quantum tides boasting she-who-shall-not-be-named & her cats of thousands. While you & I mine the mystery of misery, probing the economy of milquetoasts from the hoity-toity to the lost-in-the-stats, from Miss Friction to her entropic rival, hotly yearning to fly off the handle towards another swirl of galactic arms probing the attractive void.
It Must Be Time
It must be time you mumble over the objections of our bloody garden, erupting tone row petals even as we speak. Lost to posterity, our most urgent qualms surrender to the ozone’s strength in numbers. There is plenty of booze & the ghost of Mozart may or may not be smiling on our culinary baby steps gesturing so tentatively towards his committee of marauding angels. There are fish in pockets & wine in development, although the children have decreed an end to lost time. After another awkward century of misplaced eye contact many species think it best to abort our thumbs, making everything new impossible & the rosy gash of sunset supreme.
Susan Lewis (www.susanlewis.net) is the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the Washington Prize (The Word Works, 2018), Heisenberg’s Salon, and This Visit. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions (online), Diode, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Raritan, Seneca Review, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT, among others. She is the founding editor of Posit (www.positjournal.com).