The Centuries of Landscapes
Given the forward motion of your trained mind,
it is my candle that glimmers in a faraway glen.
It is my ransom you address with your canine sniff,
my habitat you destroy when you make light of those
who worship the morning and its lessons for
how to cover the head with a fleece hood.
There is an advantage to enthusiasm, I say,
if only the sky to the east stays clear, and
pointed stares no longer capture smiles to punish them.
I wear a wreath from the suburbs tangled around
my knees. You wrestle a hard candy from me;
I catch a catnap when I fall. Why did your dream
incubate with mine, your place for serial rebuke
cross my talent for denial, my collection of bitter ordeals
on white plates? Neither one of us could ever eat fruit
off the flat spots of the other one’s face.
The skin you share doesn’t taste like meat;
my tongue belongs to the garlic in your skillet.
Must we rehearse like trilling birds over these
centuries of landscapes? I choose my rivers,
and you exist in the hard climb up the steep
escarpment. Together, was there ever
a distance identified that wasn’t ripe and perfect?
I still dull my pain with teeth clenched on
your smooth belly. The sky to the east is clear.
A moment ago the wind stirred the grove
of magnolias, and your bite mark appeared
blue as lupine on my thrilled nipple.
Tim Kahl [http://www.timkahl.com] is the author of Possessing Yourself (Word Tech, 2009) and The Century of Travel (Word Tech, 2012). His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, Notre Dame Review, The Journal, Parthenon West Review, and many other journals in the U.S. He appears as Victor Schnickelfritz at the poetry and poetics blog The Great American Pinup and the poetry video blog Linebreak Studios. He is also the co-editor of Clade Song . He is the vice president and events coordinator of The Sacramento Poetry Center. He currently houses his father’s literary estate—one volume: Robert Gerstmann’s book of photos of Chile, 1932.