By Sina Queyras
Dear Regret, my leaning this morning, my leather foot, want of stone, my age
Old, burnished and bruised, my hair lingering, my hand caked, spongy as
November my dear Relentless, my dear Aging, your voice tinny, dissonant
As Stein shot through decades of war and Fortrel, cocktails on the hour,
Zeppelins over Piccadilly, bombing blindly in the fog. Dear Skin, dear Tobacco
Mouth my refusal, my merely geographic, my fibrous strings for you: your
Abundant wit, your lack of shadow and still joy nosing the air. Each moment
Stretches toward you, your dry feet: I carried them, pumiced and peppery
Laid them where regret is a biscuit thing to lean upon and sweeten,
My hour of you, my cursive thoughts, a pulpit beating under these ribs.
Dear Time, you swallowed us whole, swallowed us lovely, sharp as bones
Crimping sadly under foot my benign, my flotsam and crabs thin as leaves
Your smoothing, your sinking in. Mornings or mooring, or wallowing
Jericho: tapioca air indolent. I am still there, supple and driftwood, you lovely,
You loved me, your memory dark and west, thoughts like tugboats stitching
The horizon, you pulling me, my pudding, my thin crustacean, sideways
In the late afternoon, your gaze, having so soon forgotten the sharpness
Of mornings, the bite of your look serrating the hour: my treasures, all
Of them, for the pleasure of that slice once more, of our dangling,
You and me, the lot of us in some car, driving some hour, mapless.
Under a spiderweb, a tire, slouched: flat, sad-lipped, I think of Newton
Of the original apple, all of these clones since, all of these scentless
Descents. I shake my glass, shake again, melted suffixes tinkling; observe
All things natural: foliage unfurling like old bills, wryly betraying
Your habits, like the dog who digs and rubs, the dog who whines, who
Paws and circles, you trace. Why is pain so much better than nothing? Or
The mark of it more understandable? Why is saying nothing so much better?
Your one-liner like blossoms, uplifting, your currents strap me to air, yes
I guess there is a little texture up here, and oxygen pure as baby’s toes
Which if I recall, are sweet as kernels of corn, if I recall so long ago.
To arrive is practice, conversation or conversion, a story over a field
My Sweet, of concrete or whispering, furrows of a path no longer, not
Sure, was there, and snow combed in curlicues and dog ears a zigzag
Through January. Sure you are witty, but are you any less romantic?
In my remembering, I have undone all my beliefs, it is a luxury to lay
Unencumbered here, or there, the bones flexed with tendons, the
Spine like a seahorse, the heart far from a cliche unless beating is
Innocent, though innocence is not as supple as you think, nor as flexible,
Nor as perfumed, nor convenient, or even clean: between things regret
Gathers force. I remember that day: it was cold and the coffee tepid.
The small red balloons like thumbprints, waves green as the brush of
Cedar, the wind lapping your hoodie, blind strings tap the air, camera
Bobbing like a dog’s tail. Such lightness, the dog heading off, all
The dogs of English Bay angling off-leash. I would follow backward,
Lay old maps on your white sheets, so sincere, I am in earnest for you: We won’t regret having not yet knit our acrid puns and jaded barbs, nor
Having the wind slip in under our belt loops, though I gently refuse
Gor-Tex, and you bet I will not concede the game. Those small red
Balloons like tulips in your eyes specs of amber, an amulet, an avatar,
My thoughts of you fully indexed, ready to step into.