“Twos” Poetry Collection

By Emma Aylor '13

Emma Aylor '13Long

The curl of iced vine palms

the window and I see you in

the light sliding along

glossy undersides of power

lines. You amplify

to image and fall into how

 

your hands felt on

the dinner table, stern lily

pads I wouldn’t touch—

 

You had just cut your hair.

Chopin bit my lips.

The naked clean mirroring. And I

 

am in the bus shelter

thinking kisses, kissing

 

4:30

I say all this to

witness disappearance,

 

to show you that I don't believe

any more. I only believe

 

in the man tuning our piano,

his seersucker cheeks. Do you see

 

these, his hair and stubble the colors

of ridge-knifing rocks, his head tipped

 

to catch pitches like gnats

as he plods on the plangent keys again?

 

He has flayed it;

he pulls its ribs back

 

to expose velvet like old photographs'

red dresses, their pigments pressing through

 

dust, to unwrap gold coils

to straw and splinter. Love is bitter

 

and all there is, Zelda said, and you know

this to be true. I have had to show you.

 

I tell you this to speak it.

I tell you as I'd spit on the floor.

 

Noun

1.

 

This is the discarded Chupa Chups wrapper

stamped into the shape of a gingko leaf. This is

what it means when the gray couple uses eight

creamers and lines them like ruptured vertebrae on their table,

the lids wilting to both sides. This is why

whenever I read his notes the cadences

stick to the insides of my elbows

for days. This is why I name

cats for poets and limbs for clock hands.

This is why I don’t believe that you

or anything is real or true.

 

2.

 

There was something in that night walk

to the 24-hour gas station, something

terrible in the way stars dropped on the wet streets,

too tired to leave, reduced

 

to matted Styrofoam and paper holes.

 

The car with one headlight out, the sandy roses

planted behind the Thai restaurant dumpsters.

I poured most of the coffee out before I got back and pretended

I’d been standing in the backyard the whole time.

 

3.

 

It means the world will dunk your soft head

in the dirty water over and over, like an uncle,

 

and, when you surface with fish and small suns

streaming under your eyelids, it will

kiss prism, moth, one stone, each heavy ear.

 

* Above poems are part of a collection awarded 1st place in the Goronwy Owen Prize category for best collection of poems as part of the 2012 English Literary Awards.