It’s easier to escape some landscapes than to paint them. Wasn’t this true of botanists staking
out the hyacinth? Driving by and saying there goes the neighborhood, fiddling with likeness to
contaminate the flower. The flower obsessed return to field what’s picked. Aconite’s three-
headed dog spit, blue larkspur’s ancient disc. Air traffic red and ambulance hue.
A neutral tone is trapped in sirens. We inch along sound’s edge wondering about exiles we’ve
known and ones we became. My survey doesn’t prove this. I’ve asked everyone I know upright
on stretchers and maybe that’s everyone. That’s why I’ve asked you here to the parking lot.
Not far from death but moving into grocery. Police are moonlighting as distant moons.
It’s a good time to talk.
Half-drunk and half-awake in one of Auden’s dives. Another three dollar pitcher another too-
quick cigarette. Thumbs twitch on phones as votes get counted, faces glow clenched under
The Ogden marquis. And at Charlie’s it’s bingo night with drag queens, it’s midnight with
nausea. It’s street light and threshold and please
Watching the unthinkable on a row of screens and stunned pundits in a frieze.
The unthinkable is a thought I’m trying not to have. Fumbling home past lawn signs and
gourds a nervous raccoon makes a break for it. Watching the thinkable aspirate by numbers,
were you with me? I counted backwards from certainty. I closed my eyes.
I felt data buzz when it died.
You keep you keep and you keep yourself in the caul in the sanctum of giving what you keep.
Daylight patches the basement. My cheek grazes a grey divot. I see you I think. In every place
I can’t recall I become the details I gloss over. A fragrant elevator. A glancing midrash. Maybe
I wasn’t one of the people I was.
Hot tar pours out a truck. Gets raked atop a surface atop another surface no longer good?
Blow torch on asphalt glints the eye back into commune with itself? Morning’s tone is uneven.
Rehearses itself. Tries to do better with feeling. Here ivy and boxwood corner my name. Here
I’m many shades between remembrance and estrangement. I’m close enough to the hospital
I can walk there.
OREN SILVERMAN’s poems have recently appeared in Poetry Northwest, Denver Quarterly, and Visible Binary. He lives in Brooklyn.