SOMETIMES WE STAND AT ROOF’S EDGE AND LOOK FOR OUR UNIVERSE
by Matthew Lippman
We saw the cardinal on the fence. It depressed us.
It was too early for spring in March.
We took out the chainsaw and cut down the old tree.
It had fallen already.
We were mimes.
The sun gave us a handshake,
said welcome to my palace.
It was the palace of heat and orange rinds.
We jumped around until it got too much,
like spending five more minutes than the body can take
in the steam.
The cardinal made us sing to one another,
in the kitchen, our mouths open as wide as the top of a salt shaker unscrewed.
It felt like hamburgers on the grill.
It felt satin.
We went out to the yard with our cutting machine
and cut up the lawn.
It was already shredded from the fallen tree.
We played with our bodies, made them move like tattletales,
like fractured bones,
the celestial movement of the entire Milky.
Sometimes we stand at the roof’s edge and watch for our universe.
We can never see the whole thing.
When we were children, the whole thing was as visible as today’s little cardinal.
It was red and black and could withstand any sort of hydraulic pressure.
These days our telescopes need as much help focusing
through the disease of orange rind
as our spigots do clean water.
But we look through it anyway.
If the cardinal brings it to us
the rain is happy.
If the pollution truck brings it to us we have no choice
but to fear our own movement.
It is not funny.
It is not something we can even begin to mimic.
OPEN LETTER TO DMITRIY SAVCHENKO
by Eireann Lorsung
Who are you now, Dmitriy Savchenko?
At your wedding, drinking straight
from the bottle of champagne, a tacky
bouquet of fake pink rayon roses
in your right hand, now ringed; in a cowboy
hat and a supermarket out of human scale;
in a photograph several years out
of date, your mouth hidden by a black
ribbon; camouflaging your face
with a picture of Gomez Addams? Dmitriy,
listen, the exorbitant vowels
in our names want us to be together.
Every night lately I’ve woken up
sweating, the whole bed drenched, thinking
of you, Dmitriy Savchenko, you
with the straight bangs falling
over a map of the Ukraine you keep on
your forehead, you with your hand
raised to fend of a blow. When
did you marry, Dmitriy, when was the last
time you took a train across the wheat
fields? Last night the shine
from your shirt kept me up til 3 a.m.
your time, I could see
you dancing your awkward, suggestive
dance that no one’s comfortable with,
your tie flapping, those inappropriate
sunglasses. Sometimes, rarely, you are
beautiful, Dmitriy Savchenko, and then
I am sure I don’t know you. You
with your back to the Black Sea, drinking
whiskey this time but still straight
from the bottle, your black hair blown
back against the pier. It’s true
I’m still in love with how the light
hits your crooked nose. But mostly
I love the black earth,
your left hand on the forelock
of a tarpon. Centuries are nothing
to you, Dmitriy, forests and hills
are nothing, the sea. You do not disappear
completely. Your philosophers are
boxers. You photographed the atom.
I wonder if you’ll play the piano again
when the gangrene heals and whether every
so often you look at the white
walls of your office, see the water break
just over our heads.
Shipping included in all prices.
Andrew Michael Roberts
Ashley Seitz Kramer
Mark Jay Brewin Jr.
Peter Jay Shippy