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Scantily Clad Press, 2009


Acknowledgements: Some of these poems have appeared in: Coconut, Denver Quarterly, Foursquare, Milk, Phoebe, and WOMB


Summer starred night mints sleep new again I cradle my head in my hand and watch blackbirds circle near the ocean pulling in close before releasing towards the spray and trace your echo mark paces on the warm wood floor make flight routes in my mind I would give away all this information and make exact duplicates but the painter with no memory paints the things before him I am thinking it pulls them closer out past the screen door shell enameled eyes and cardamom seeds expand our path towards hills


Tracks carve through Florida florid wetlands wilderness breaks down my estuarial intent he fell in love with the s-curve of her neck to spine—simple mathematics could explain the reappearance of other things too do we all dream of swash-buckling adventures and text anxiety mothers sharpening knives let’s track green dots on trees our own operation of marking up boundaries discern the legibility of protons and casual time shadows of moths passing between light spread across your sleeping face


How we could ever miss daylight mists clearing from the coast in early hours the slow flow of elderberry tea and parity abide this house sleepy enterprises mark our making cows stand along the enclosure assessing their own solemn limits back in our cottage I sleep drink ginger gin fizz smile for your absence fashion want weave long fingers through my dark hair etched poppies’ syncopate beats our trellis out back bends with the weight


Crease in the field of morning thought scatters through stalks of grain lavender limestone sawdust the sun fails to speak melting snow erodes enclosures blocking songs’ progress into town sheep gather on the edge of the field stamping patterns into the earth each image spurns memory and we tuck snapshots away preferring not to make them our own ribbons deck daily guarantees promenade across existence offers by old arrangements


Sun-scarred blankets glaze the earth pave brooks and wildflowers empty windows signal things too half-heard pronouncements spaces between whisper and song carry the present forward we empty into streets forgotten resort to actions of the mouth that mimic speech watch in shadows from the lawn stressed arches support pin-pricked legs bare bent limbs scatter leaves white birch peels papery strips and Andromeda waits chained in the bog


Mountains and landscapes wrap the west green long after water portends growth swamp grass vernal pools valley immigration manmade lakes flood brown matted sod your discipline is lovely but ours is not we thank you for it search for the door to the sky far below the lake’s surface where stillness speaks of what will be gulls and egrets skim shuffle surfaces wind sweeps across the soft ruins how many different permutations of this rule problematized hues and tree failure snags pepper the estuarine marsh the signifying process joins us


Cities cling to bridges islands in the Atlantic spray white circles draw up cliffs account for the difference between time and those proportions peopled by divers swollen vanity textures coil ribbons around arms legs ankles record aural patterns somesuch trackings speech lies in the break on the river edge subtle splendor occupies dour fittings shoes to sky guide your path hypostatic with desire wandering cursed passages sand stretch states audible to them


Shadowy figures loom the horizon trees collapse into streams branches become bivouacs take a break from the sunshine turn soft and dark and eat persimmons let the coast crawl across your couch and leave scarce traces of ash and alchemy sounds of trains wide off in the distance pepper the day like boot prints sit tight and buy us a few more hours


Dim evenings coated in shadow carve into bedside tables enchanted carpentry old eucalyptus I almost feel modest about it roses only sing half of each verse as they punctuate roadsides on hills tucked in our valley the fabric is the conjunction call it style or call it what we do this night I weave bits of the passing day snips of nodding aster and cow lily while you lay waiting on the couch were we both born in occupied territory perhaps blouson-sleeves would not fall across your face and set me dreaming


Walk upon the illusory grove the successive dĂŠcor of fingers upon palms agitate the picturesque catalyst for other machinations twilight opaques wrestling breezes from acres heirlooms acquiesce into self portraiture holes in the lawn erupt with mildew and we believe we have cleared away the first three enigmas of the sky layer over layer after layer pull the darkness closer


Scratched limbs and bellies swallow the overcast sky gray days mark change perhaps last night I was too toreadora claro que si levy the traces of your discontent in this district it is easy each Monday we sweep the wooden floors bypass the city in favor of green pastures but that night the rooms of his house filled and emptied again and again toasting the end of the day and darker parts of the year


A flowering of unexpected seasons emerges from dream broadband distribution costumes frivolity my hands open spilling out spring broken into countless tiny deportations remembrance of purple flowers the tree outside a second-story I see proliferation of green spaces the tree uprooted in wind storms a week before winter’s official tarnished gestures meringue endpaper bottle miseries without shorter days ahead striated lives diverge your shoulders only open for a moment the speed of chance increases in time tank the cellophane and let the stars sing unravel unvarnished waxwings tree fragments five rings spill out into pockets


Gray walls fail to bring quiet in the evening footsteps on the street permeate the enclosure and she dreams each night of the coast crushed shells speak of lost cities at least she likes to imagine it that way tracing the spine of burnt hills in her brain’s mapping a few oceans away he embarks or did hours ago now that it is far past noon in the places she used to inhabit where beaches fill with vacationers and so the city although full seems to wait walled in the forested gorge upriver she hears whispers from the Pacific belated by five years


Seascapes starscapes I imagine transcendental starfish you not in New York a house on the coast lit windows on autumn nights to write some kind of winter ode autumnal unravel summer bend your knee sink into hips sailboats mooring near the estuary red panels signal to ships line our path down the coast with St. Helen’s across the water valley fog draw your fingers down my shoulder


Megan Kaminski’s work has appeared in Coconut, Denver

Quarterly, Phoebe, Third Coast, WOMB, and many other fine journals. She lives in Lawrence, KS, where she teaches poetry at the University of Kansas. Megan spent much of her childhood in Virginia, and lived in Casablanca, Los Angeles, Paris, and Portland, before moving to Kansas. For more information about Megan, feel free to visit her website at: http://www.megankaminski.com


"Across Soft Ruins" by Megan Kaminski