The bear now.
Instead of what is what.
One might come to expect.
To expect is, being central to our view, bobbling the ball and not in fang, the bear
Sinks a paw into the buoyant
and isolated atmosphere
If being a crime is dancing
I want to be wrong. When this is over, and remember, it will be over.
Somewhere there’s a party. I can’t even remember it.
Dancy dance dance.
Jaunty like the ladybug, or certain aspects of the sea.
It’s like riding a psychotic horse towards a burning stable.
Everything belongs to the past.
The Past whispers to the bear who then whispers to me,
If you had anything poetic to say, now would be the time to say it.
But I’m in my bathroom, on lockdown, shaving my beard, thinking of past lovers, listening to Hospital by Modern Lovers. Nothing, for me, will ever be this morning.
And the bear, he listens. And so does the past. And now I’m on to a different album entirely.
We find ourselves regained in the community pool.
Love, mischief, regret, tumbling down, splashing our
backs slick gray in water from the bottom of the bottom of
what we do not see, which we do touch and want
with our backs to stain ourselves
with it to be stained with ourselves
together to strike against silence by
nothing but being a cluster of each other.
Because it, the pool, was perfect without us and
did not beg us but the day heats and you had this
to have wanted to be the tiger that, unbashfully, looks
up and is in its world
as to not only see
but to see us to see me and you and our stained
skin knows absolutely how it is not part of us.
Where our eyes push back at us
the houses glow
and we let them and wait for the
wind or a song to excuse
to excuse us our wet
terrible our stained bodies
to excuse us our eyes to
excuse that we close them
to be right how we
are a necessary addition
to an unnecessary statement.
Because the sun faces directly across the
length of street when you are walking
now leaving the pool
the tiger in that particular
direction, which is farther
we want ourselves
and we try tho often deceptive
ourselves to look downstreet
farther and farther against and
the stupid glare of this or that
glistening, insected, punctuated
Before I was a land I was
a landing the stairs flooded into
acorn wood stripped of its bark
the weather is big, bigger than
the body. The body contained
like a storm cellar. I sprint across
it, the land, to be there inside of it.
Tapering outward and down
the stairs meet the inglorious flat.
Before I was even aware
there was weather.
Us inside of it, the land, too.
What heir am I? to what province?
What property my inheritance?
to which lands?
I asked only for time.
For time and labor
to sustain myself, us, inside.
The weather, itself, in part rich
smoke air magnesium calm.
The moths, the cave, the caving in
of the mind. The magnesium cave
filled with miners, like moths
beneath the light, the moths abscond with particulate.
So many of them as enormous as abstract numbers.
What is my payment in all this?
I counted what I could.
I LOVE IT WHEN DAVID CALLS ME IN FROM THE RAIN
It took an hour and a half to do what I was doing. It took
most of the life out of me for another ten minutes, but then
I was fine. I was mostly most of a medium-sized river
before I was born. David sits like a song bird so that no one sees
him. The song birds see him. See him sitting there on a log, laugh and leave.
For David, I built a house. I built the house out of sticks
and dry grass. The driest. I built the house which was called compensation.
I built the house around David so that he could see
what was going to happen to him before it happened.
Time is a sublime thing for a house to be built in.
For David, I killed three deer and ran their skin over him.
At this, some song birds sang, others flew away. Some
made themselves there, like David, like fog, like the gulls
Grant Souders is the author of the poetry collection, Service (Tupelo Press, 2017); chapbook, Relative Yard (Patient Sounds, 2011), and a collaborative book with Nathaniel Whitcomb and Matthew Sage, A Singular Continent (Palaver Press, 2014). His poetry has appeared in the Boston Review, jubilat, iO, OmniVerse, Denver Quarterly, Paperbag, and other venues. His visual art has appeared at a variety of galleries in Colorado. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop where he was a Maytag Fellow. He currently lives in Denver and teaches English at the University of Colorado.