dear silver pliers,
If a train filled with chrysanthemums is running your perimeter,
if it is filled with tulips, if my finger is inside the cargo, is the
train holding or being held. The pink inside of the cheek
outside. Remember the pink horizon is born of pollution. If
the train runs from the tip of your mouth inside my nose,
from handle to the trunk of my tongue, what is the interstice
of taste and smell. What is the name of a mum. The nose and
its hairs a forest to live in, the webbing above a dower.
Level the forest for its sapphire tear. Raze the burrows and
take the spider’s silk. Squeeze spiders to fill a vile of
antivenom. If I am only a mouth, if I am no-armed, no-axed,
what am I to do when I can’t see past the forest’s foliage.
What do I do when the neighbor’s door hinge creaks
dear plastic tweezers,
Pull out the black splinter of December. I want to walk and I
don’t want to walk. I want to see the skin and wound
draining. That is, a head, my mother’s warm lap and a pew.
The maceration of flesh and the spider’s bite. You pull a leg
out of the exoskeleton and the spider stumbles. I give the scarf,
hutch of my dead flesh, and ask that it is torn instead. Thread
by thread. In remembrance of my childhood bottom on a cold
tile near the exit sign of an idea. The smell of vanilla and the
moon waning behind the crossed pane. I am in my closet
between my Sunday clothes sticking my arms through the
cotton collars. I am walking to the car with no shoes. Pull me
out of December like a vesper, tea leaves damming the sink
Ryan Bollenbach is an MFA candidate in the University of Alabama MFA program and former poetry editor of Black Warrior Review. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Foundry, Heavy Feather Review, Mesmer, and elsewhere. Find him on twitter at @SilentAsIAm.