Fall 2010 / Issues / Poetry 2010 / Volume 41

In Addition To Water — Taylor Eagan

1.

We lived one summer

without walls. No sheetrock,

just cherry brick from outside

and the slivers of light that

stretched between the cracks.

We could hear the fruit man’s

lucid voice through the skeleton

of our row home.

He called cantaloupe and

watermelon, grapes and apples

and then laughed a bit

as the clicking of hooves

passed beyond our unpainted fence.

His shade lingered on the screen door

like our skin stuck to the leather sofa.

Our palms sealed together

with sweat and the hunger for something

other than fruit.

2.

I watched an oriole in the front yard,

perched on a piling by the water.

A bird this sleek should fly,

but instead it huddled in the cold air,

its feathers ruffled and messy.

The marsh winds blew

across the Chesapeake.

The breeze whistled through the pier,

wandered over the bulkhead,

coiled in the sand.

We bottled it later that year,

the day we dove for clams and got

so sunburned we blistered.

Katie tossed them into a bucket,

and I watched them as they opened,

extended their slick arms,

suffocated.

3.

Solar energy reaches through

the crack in the windshield,

a web-like chasm where my face

and the glass met and departed.

It is conducted through the currents

of my subclavian and iliac,

spread throughout my limbs

as the bruise starts to widen

above my eye and someone pulls me

from the car because I’m too confused

to walk and I wonder how the verve

that’s rootless in my limbs .

could be convected from

my body

to yours.

4.

We’d go to the circus

at the end of every summer when

the air started to cool and unravel.

The tents were always red, I think,

as big as mountains or maybe

I was just small at the time.

When you’re small there’s

not much that isn’t big.

Like how I could only recognize

you by the pants you wore.

The elephants were my favorite,

their feet mashing craters into the dirt.

You’d smile, raise me to your shoulders

so I could see over the crowd

and the elephants would trumpet,

follow each other in circles

and the horses danced and a man

walked a tightrope just over our heads.

There was fire and brimstone

followed by a nap on the way home,

so you’d carry me to my room,

semi-conscious and in love.

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