By James Crawford
I can’t speak for the mirror, standing
outside, I am inside & different, and
why question anything anyways if it’s
the room that thinks we live our lives
a tiny apartment, a kitchen, & a closet
is emptied of items that might suggest
— a couple is living, taking up
space (what else) standing several
feet apart they stare into a mirror.
The space between us
is the void. a carpet.
the absence of a rug.
the thought of your dog
shedding in June the winter
we thought we’d lost him.
(it must be strange. alone.
in that big house)
I am behind you(hello)
I am living. more as couch
than person. you are window
(&I mess up. I call you television)
we change names the same way.
an old man complains. the summer
is hot. winter is not cold enough.
we change names hoping
are seasonal things. will stick
around with the earth.
(men are not built in motion.
But in still hammocks of their own
dripping wet. you come out of the
shower. the diffused
light. like a quick violence
in July. is frightening the blackbirds filling the
frame. obscuring you. (as an idea)
your form: a black cloud. your
nakedness: another kind of death. with
a towel crown. the fog dissipates. &it
appears that I am sleeping. Dreaming you
As couch. A few years from now.
I sit &expect you among others.
today is your birthday. happy
birthday. I wonder if you will
leave your house. At the party,
people dance to wild music (Can
you recall the viola player’s face?
The dutiful shadow. Who stayed
Silent till morning. Needing only
to get wherever
he was going next.)
You arrive late under a large, Russian satellite.
Refusing Heaven. Like a crucifix.
You take the seat across from me.
Adjust your awkward antennae. Channel your suffering.
(with an umbrella, he shields you from the sun&
with his free hand points west, assuring you, “Arizona
didn’t kill your mother”
Your mother killed your mother in the second person,
&then poured herself a drink. I read it in a poem. It
was taped to a pipe under our sink.)
Through the open window
church bells come in& touch everything:
Your body’s black script
My own pale index of symbols. Naked by the
bookshelf where poems go missing (which poem.
this poem? I can no longer be certain) they knock
at my chest and wait for the heart to answer.
I hung the mirror to the ceiling. Underneath,
our bodies took shape in a painting I’d make.
One winter alone.
Near the place where men kill chickens.
Believe the magician.
Two things can happen at once, but always
with the possibility
one or the other is forgotten.