Hemming in the Hymn
Lost things crackle for me and I
go looking. Saint Ursula on her
way, her hand ghost silver and
pointed. The old gum stuck
everywhere. Silence has its own
alphabet, and it speaks in slams.
Or if you prefer, the aperture of
an open-mouthed kiss: a thousand
parentheses and middling dust.
No wonder I slide under blue
lawns spilling my spotlight.
My method is to sigh and sigh
into the undressing. To trick my
sour heart, my scoliosis, my bad
hurricane mood: put it all in the
simple past. My father once told
me—the peptic pink cancer spots
on his head shining—that he
worries about the "stigmata of
growing old." There are no
corrections for this sure mud
but tell me what still loves you.
The cold is alone in the steeple and the cows
are real old they're growing out their lawns
or not mowing them anymore but
the homeowners are mad and nothing
is a steeple in this town. This grass is a record
of the field that used to be here. Nobody can find
the steeple in this town! It wasn't in the brochure
and still the two columns were too crowded
for family outings, which were never covered
by the only reporter. **** ******** was his name:
we know because we found the crop circles above
the puncture hole of the steeple. The sheet of the
sky: white and wrinkled above the sinkhole where
the steeple was found. The cows are real hungry
they're eating the garbage and the family cars
are just biscuits dipped in diesel frosting. No
one has followed the trails in ages but the signs
are still posted here and here. The bricklayers
are heroes enormous and eternal made of
what else: brick, which is a sensual material
usually reserved for politicians but what is
a housebuilder if not a hopemonger. The cows
are easing down off of the hilltop behind
the steeple or where the steeple once was. You
can tell by the sway of the old chimneys back
and forth toward the basketball court where
the children still skate up the sides of the
cowpies COWPIES COWPIES COWPIES
piemakers notoriously hate this phrase
and petitioned to ban it from colloquial
use but people are stubborn and live on
forever despite there being no steeple
no reporter no grass no brick cakes no
statues no masons no fingers no FINGERS
on the hands and everyone knows that feeble
rule between most and have knots: shooting
in the shoulders. The steeple is no spectral
whole of a steeple. It's a lighthole it's a light-
house made of molehills and the cold
is the cold is holding everything together.
Beef thoughtful beef
spare me your little homilies now.
You are dead meat and I
am well-schooled in the humane
and seductive power of things.
What is the life of a morphine
lollipop or microphone
in a wire halo
The self-love of one hand
but the shoe repair
offers free taps
to any shoes doing
by themselves in their closet rooms
to be heard.
Scissors that are cold
no hand (their coupling
is constant. They are
their brains out).
is born every second
then written off.
Another version of this coming-
of-age: young error blossoms
into actual data.
Possibly it takes
another object: code-
breaking software is known
for cruising young errors
in search of a looker. It is
possible that an ugly
duckling code learned how
to be funny so as to avoid appearing
so complex and so beautiful
that it would draw attention
from the artificial
A certain amount of strangeness
is to be expected but a jack-
in-the-box is absolute filth.
In an effort not to be jealous
I am trying not to find objects
feeling but the truth is
it kills me
two oxygen tanks
tangled and shy about
the hot clang they make
when they touch.
What they've got
is so pure
they will never make real air.