You first-time snorkeler
head burrowed, missing much
riveted to the fact of water

You literal, now, assemblage of old hopes
hope can sharpen against

When we learned your eyes had unsealed
we stopped telling anyone your names

You spin cycle of sleep and hunger
You moon-print pressure
through the surface of her dress

knocking without asking
crazy for electric bass and basketball crowds

You pressing through
the surface of address

Papaya-sized, once a lemon, once a figment

Hazard to dip
one shoulder lower, then snake yourself
through the straits of bone

You wonder, roughened
You doubt, familiar

Ash swirled down the sky
blew back and forth
when you were just the crooked shelf I’d built
the calendar reminders when to try

Helicopters now
the thrumming almost constant
in Berkeley’s raw-glare May

You yard of jewelweeds
you week of circled days

Nate Klug is a poet and essayist. His most recent book is Hosts and Guests (Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets, 2020).

Also by this author
This story is included in these collections:

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Published in the July / August 2020 issue: View Contents
© 2024 Commonweal Magazine. All rights reserved. Design by Point Five. Site by Deck Fifty.