Tristan Loper CC
“There’s a fear down here we can’t forget.”
-John Perry Barlow
I can’t walk that far anymore
without feeling feverish, needing
distraction; no matter the indigo
of mountains, the expanding
blood-red fields of wildflowers.
I can’t walk far without thinking
that rock or that tree might become
the last thing I see, without
wishing I had clubs or a radio.
I won’t walk the prescribed daily
mileage, take the dose offered;
not while I have so much
transcribing and revising to do,
not while my own back yard’s creatures
buzz and gossip,
when awnings are down against
an unfiltered sun burning
the many things it gazes on.
I’ll postpone my travel
through the valleys
only for the last few sips, glinting
youthful skin and bright teeth
of a wide-eyed girl wowed
with a mouthful of grapes.
We’d walk far in love, say
the kinds of things we don’t believe
any time but then.
I can drive by the old place
clashed in the can,
where I cut myself shaving
with an electric razor – no small feat
living with blood so thinned.
Coagulation was one thing my body
had forgotten, living in the same house
where I dumped demolished walls
and floorboards into the alley, a town
that turned from me coldly, darkly.
Out the back door in the garden,
the only light from the kitchen
so dim there’s no seeing raindrops,
fat and far apart, even as they kick
up moon dust, as they break
this high, narrow window of heat
and stilled time. Keep walking
through neighbors’ yards, patios;
past their pools, their neglected sheds. Go on
into the borderland with its twin seductions
of uncertainty and youth
where particles avoid collision
and wind up in many places at once.
Go out to the hard road
of farmhouse and town, growth and harm
parched and empty-handed; sunlit
some days, brave and broken, brilliant
but in need of shelter, shield and filter;
blind in the garden wherever you go.
Sharpen your eyes, slide rough fingers
in a rabbit’s pocket to relearn what’s worth it
about the weary world.
David P. Kozinski received a poetry fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts and was named Mentor of the Year by Expressive Path, which facilitates participation in the arts for underserved youth. Publications include Tripping Over Memorial Day (Kelsay Books) and his chapbook, Loopholes (Broadkill Press) which won the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize. Kozinski was a finalist for the Inlandia (California) Institute’s 2020 Hillary Gravendyke Prize for a book-length poetry manuscript, which is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in 2022. Kozinski is the resident poet at the Rockwood Museum in Wilmington, DE. He serves on the Editorial Board of Philadelphia Stories magazine, the board of the Eastern Shore Writers Association, and is Art Editor of Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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