STILL LIFE OF TENDERNESS, WITH ATTACHMENT
The walls here are all showing pictures now
and stuck but not like waves are.
Not like the plover, trying to light out
from dawn’s silver pool, learns a moment
of regret at low tide, taught by pressing water.
That moment, so quickly lost in light
and silence, presents its own economy
in a shorebird life, the idle hopping
and tideless notions coming in, coming about.
Forgive me maybe but I won’t
give this up, here where the ocean
names its appetites. There is sense
in summer by the water and New Jersey
just wants to give us a room
for each other, to lie double on the one bed
and leave the other empty
while outside friends breakfast
on the lost castle of their senses.
I am only waiting for a moment to myself
and the wall will show more than its due.
Sun comes up and closes us in. What you crave
is momentarily beautiful, not mine to give.
You and your velcro wonders can have it all,
all the time to yourself. My toes
are a gone colony, cold in sand.
BUT FIRST YOU HAVE TO CLOSE YOUR EYES
Some of us are heading to the castle
some of us are too tired for the castle
some of us fade into sleep. Dawn stumbles
down the tree-lined street, gray and sublunary
like a stripped god. Outside
the dank well of barlight, a pale wrist flicks ash
and imagines the orange tip of the cigarette
a castle, prepared and waiting. Its citizens know
when the party is over, when repeated dance moves
become as pointless as cars on islands. No one stands up
from our bench in the barlight, rubbing cold knees.
How is it a train so often shudders beneath our feet?
The force it takes to know the organism completely
is starless, is dividing up the tip in even portions and settling
its necktie. Soon I’ll be left alone. I’ll wish better luck
to the bodies of my future selves, translating
the evening so it can talk to me. Okay,
the moon looks like a mistake in the sky
they’ll say into the hollow bottles of afternoon.
The throat strung out among last daffodils best
knows the daffodils. I am still the surest thing
outside of cabfare. I am still leaving this borough tonight
and entering the castle, by myself if necessary.
I have this game I like to play where I close my eyes
and pretend I’m a blind man, returning
to a city I designed in the years before I lost my sight,
where I should still know every length and walk
in darkness, a trauma unknown and known before.
Here, I play the game again for you.
Jay Deshpande has new poems appearing in Narrative, Spork, Vinyl, Sixth Finch, Handsome, Verse Wisconsin, and Boxcar Poetry Review. He is the former poetry editor of AGNI and curates the Metro Rhythm Reading Series in Brooklyn. For a living he writes about luxury timepieces.