Split

autumn chairs

Two garden seats, side by side:
one is full of leaves & the other, twigs.
It looks like an amicable division.
A spam comment touts Extraordinarily naked people.
I hear a train whistle & remember
the beast that stalked me in all
my childhood dreams.

Up in the attic, a freshly shed snake skin
is stretched across the pink fiberglass.
Such separations must be wrenching, however necessary.
A bluebottle fly clings to the top
of an empty water jug, immobile
from the cold. It’s a bad time of year
not to be warm-blooded.

I eventually figured out that I was simply
in the train’s way, & if I laid down
& flattened myself against the ties
it would thunder harmlessly overhead.
Perhaps those nudists too have mastered
the art of getting out of the way,
& their bodies are not merely unclothed
but transparent, so that you can see the food
dissolving in their stomachs & ideas growing
in the reptilian coils of their brains.
There are protocols for everything, even in the garden.
The wind is a very particular host.

10 Comments


  1. Fittingly, perhaps, there’s a word I can never remember, an Oliver Sacks type of word to describe something missing — yes, there it is! Did Jarrett use it recently? Aphasia. But I also like lacunae. There’s something really close, but missing here. It’s close like the tunnel holding the train. It’s gone like the turgor to a tube of withered snakeskin. An octopus-armed void is proffered under the armrests on two types of chairs: dissimilar, but congruent emptiness.

    Never have I felt anything like the tenderness I feel now toward insulation, rolled or batted; unrolled, unwrapped, cooling.

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  2. You could also see the chairs as an amicable marriage, each to his or her own side, not longer touching, gathering different items, but still gathering side by side.

    I love the musings here, watching the mind wander. I wonder if it is a struggle for a snake to shed its skin? I’ve never seen it in action, have you? It seems like it might feel good once it’s over.

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  3. Jarrett – Hey, that’s good to know. Thanks.

    Bill – Those are both terrific words, I agree.

    This new-fangled “green” insulation made from factory-rejected blue jeans seems like it would be a lot nicer to work with. I’ve always hated the way fiberglass works its way into the skin.

    Thanks as always for the wild comment!

    christine – Yes, you’re right… and I think it’s a more natural way to see those chairs, in fact. I’ve simply had divorce on my mind lately, for reasons I’d rather not go into. Oh, and I suspect you’re right about shedding snakes, too, but who knows?

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  4. I like the way you come back to the wind which is responsible for both collections…well, wind and design

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  5. Can be a bad time if you are warm-blooded…

    I think I’d rather be the chair on the right.

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  6. I can not stop reading this. Each time I read it, I stumble on a new meaning, or am inspired anew. And the photo is just gorgeous. I would like a large copy, framed, for my living room. How much?

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  7. Thanks, ya’ll. Jill, I’m blushing.

    You’re welcome to make a print from this, though unfortunately I don’t think the photo is as sharp as it could be. Click on the photo to go to its page on Flickr, then click on the “all sizes” magnifying-glass icon, and choose the original size. That’s the full-size file. Right-click to download it, put it on a zip drive or cd, and take it to your local print shop. I have no experience with printing, so I can’t tell you how large they can make it before you start to see the pixelation. Let me know if you go through with it — I’m curious.

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