Stalemate by Eric Morris-Pusey

Tears and snow leave

unattractive stains on your cheeks,

so you move to the desert.

 

Only the dead speak so far from the cold

city lights, and even the dead are

usually silent. When they do find a voice,

 

it is only their bones rattling,

not endless jawing in bars or lecture halls

or under bright election banners.

 

There is no rhetoric in the desert

because there in nothing in the desert.

The phone lines, the spindly cell towers

 

struggle to stretch their arms so wide.

When I call from back East, we can hardly speak.

Do I understand why you left?

 

There is so much bright pain here under the lights.

Click and whoosh, you light a cigarette

before you say, “I’ve washed off all the soot

 

the city left on me.” My laugh is not quite

bitter when I tell you the tobacco was packed

under North Carolina factory fluorescence.

 

The call is dropped. I bite my lip. Do you sit,

listening to the song the wind sings

streaming through naked ribcages

 

stripped of all that made them

so dirty, so noble?

 

Originally Published in the January/February 2016 Issue.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: