Erin M. Bertram Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously

The falsetto, uncanny how it cranes, so high, its neck.
To be a good listener is a testament I made in seclusion,
& then my hands stopped working, so I shook them
Something fierce to find out what a life is
& how it could, one day, loud & clear, just vanish.
If ever your hands break, if they cease to move the way
You intend them to, I'll kiss them, fumbling, each broken finger,
Each knuckle unmoved. The clarion that refuses to quiet,
Though after each clang, a gentle hum fills the space between.
As when, in Dead Can Dance's 'Sanvean,' at two minutes
Twenty-one seconds, the androgynous vocalist peaks
Darkly, only to tumble, water-down-iron-rich-rock-like,
To a naked moment of relative quiet, as if, reluctantly,
To take stock of the great height it had just attained.
In the field beneath the bells, some unnamed, maned
Thing, blurred around the edges, in the distance barely unique
Against a backdrop of white oaks, devotion, Kentucky
Bluegrass. Squinting, I name it Longing. The animal follows me
Like a stray, like an aftertaste that, despite my efforts, won't clear.
In the weeds, I am the last woman standing. There are no
Shoes on my feet. And I stand there like a bucket of sand,
Mired, blinking in the overgrown moment. Something
About occlusion, a localized sense of a thing indelibly drawn.
Ingresses, egresses, etc., etc. I expand when I let on
Where my thoughts spent the night. So when, next
Morning, you butt yourself against me, sleep still a knitted
Sweater around us, we overlap, my pulse rises
To my cheeks. Dreamlife a sort of steganography,
The picture in my sleeping mind hidden within the waking.
My animal's name in your hand on my new canvas bag.
And inside, a flask of whiskey for levity, for nourishment
A few northern spies, & a spool of red thread for cinching.
From beyond the window, it cries out like a mountain
Lioness. A constant state of repair. I will work the meat of her
Loose from the bone with my dirty hands. With my teeth.


































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