Month: March 2013

Tight As Conch Shells

Posted by – 03/18/2013

photo by Ryan McGinley
First poem of the new year. Stole the title from William Burroughs.
Tight as Conch Shells:
his body folded inward as he bent, like a spider in a flame.
she could see the ghost tracks on his white fish belly
where the skin would stretch if he grew up to be a stout man.
his hands were mottled indigo from the ink of his jeans
only washed after the first year. his thighs were the same color
and she remembered the childlike oval of flesh smooth,
hairless, and high up where his junk rubbed as he skated.
he didn’t like to be reminded of that spot, brushed her hand away.
he was putting out the fire the cherry had started. her fault
and she watched silently, unhelpfully. she liked the
musty, smoldering smell. the town had banned burning
the leaves, said it was a health risk and you had to bag instead.
the ground was still damp and the fire didn’t go
anywhere though he kept mumbling and batting at it like a cat,
she thought. he had a certain way of shutting his eyes
and elongating, his spine popping like an Old West gunfight.
the sun was fuzzed behind thin clouds that didn’t look
like anything recognizable except clouds. the fire was out,
he felt sure and leaned back to relight the nub of weed. it was
a production, she gave him one of her barrettes to pinch the end
and her hair fell in a graceless clump, sticking to her forehead.
she watched him suck and burn his lip. she liked his wince,
the way his eyes snaked at the corners and she saw him old again.
he tongued his lip, hurt. there was hope. he could be a silver fox.