The Photographer of Empty Lots
Darkness masks what
moves around his walls,
the room, the unexpected
as though cut in rock
most of us avoid –
Is this where his Cyclops
in that oversized sheet?
is that his cot?
there his empty food packets?
Suppose the photographer adjusted
the light? Lifted the shades?
Would he find his old Leica,
his light meter, his keys?
I feel untied tried
as in put upon
but more loosened from
as though I were
put upside down,
in the opposite position
back to front
as if I were
when you talk to me
I start pulsing
as though counting,
then a lurch –
it’s not my stop but
a loop de loop,
a trick pilots in old days
prided themselves on
which must have caused
at least mentally;
the co-pilot didn’t fall out which
at moments like these feels
exactly like that.
First published in La Presa, Issue 2, April 2017
The Last Year
I can’t say I was hungry my mother said,
her little sandwiches—
appetite enhancers, the nurse confided
you couldn’t enter her room
without at least half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
If you stood in the doorway empty-handed,
she’d point hungrily:
What do you have for me in that pocket?
her new fleshiness
as though she were sitting
in a lake of herself
I can’t tell you the emptiness I felt,
yet charmed by what her tongue could bring
she lived happily.
Touch Me Not
If it isn’t perfect, it’s nothing -
by it I mean he or she
although sometimes when, sometimes where.
A silencer comes with my weapon,
and when I unholster, line up my shot,
fire – I disappear just like that,
the lovely orange in the little Christmas house –
only I’m still there, but with something
up my sleeve which is Goodbye.
I clothe you in an airy sheath, adhere
to your glossy surfaces, shade you, cozy you
under the hot sun. At last, you think
you’re getting the hang of it,
the give and take
of life, but make no mistake, when you
look about, the you you see
in stretchy unfolding, the curves
you didn’t know you had: flexible, reaching – you
in all your agency is me, and I’m hungry.
The crevices you try to hide
I admire, nestle into, blossom.
How sturdy you are, how I flutter
in your shadow. Is my attention flattering?
My leafy attractions? In moonlight you gleam;
I darken, wither, but each day, as you hold me,
I grow. My roots thicken in you. I become
your extremities, the fingers, the dancing feet
or more accurately your glittering fringes.
In time, I’ll spread myself over you:
your masonry, your ledges and openings,
even as you crumble, I’ll hold you.
Plants was first published in La Presa, Issue 1, January, 2017
I still taste those years:
wooden with bronze pulls, you
staring at my oversized cushions,
a script I didn’t plan to interpret.
I wandered in fog,
the impressionist painting of my cataract days.
Why does memory bathe itself?
Astounded, sated, spooked?
The old furniture, those broken drawers,
the put-one-over smile as you fingered the knobs,
sizing up the ersatz jade, the scrapped Formica.
You a nuisance who drank a little, me pouring.
Lee Gould, the editor of La Presa, a bilingual journal published three times annually is also a poet, translator and reviewer,. Her poems and reviews have appeared in journals such as Quarterly West, the Berkshire REview, Magma, Passager and others as well as anthologies in the US, England and Canada. Her chapbook Weeds was published in 2010. She lives in Guanajuato, MExico.