There isn’t any time. We have our order. We are on the move. I would tell you, if we had the time, what awaits you behind. A fistful of paper that you could unfold into a map if on a line between shadow and light, that you can read when you have time to listen. I pocket this the way someone might whisper in your ear, almost audibly, so you’ll find the word just before sleep covers up the trail. A moment, a mystery. Later, you’ll think yourself a prophet in a world of confessing surfaces.
Secession [Evidence collects beneath]
Evidence collects beneath the cancelled stars, lint fringing the couch, the bed, skin in every shriveling corner. The story hangs like a swallow beneath the nails. Pull the hair that’s needled through the sweater’s weave, let it curl into a question, an accusation. Pull the drywall from the studs, floorboards from their joists while the priest is kneeling, tongue hungry in the hardwood’s grooves while sparrows clamor for the cloth to be shook. While the nest in the drain is lifted, when the absence is invaded by any convenient symbol, when the bath like the hills is an affidavit of withdraw, the scrim, the trilobites, the bands, the vanished ocean, the shock of clay. Unless the vanished never were and everything that seems a postscript is but a used-to-be, a who-we-were, what we’ve forgotten of ourselves, of which we make a universe, in which we wrap ourselves to hope we’re not alone.
Secession [Scarecrow, manequin, forgotten sentry]
Scarecrow, mannequin, forgotten sentry. A shirt hung on a blighted tree has let its color go, slow autumn, without anyone to see. When wind unfurls it, it reveals its early years, its histories. A heart still vibrant, bright, however grey the sleeves, the departing hems. And beneath, the paraph of a placket, cuff ’s cedilla, abdicated edge, separating into separate fibers, the lines of a neighborhood, a house, its frame opening in invitation. Welcome ants, welcome wind, each litter that would carry home.
Secession [The last word still]
The last word still tender on the eardrum, gauze of noise in the air, the woods are pulling me deeper, hush is the one word everything seems to know. Sticks cough beneath me, and now I’ve wrecked the auditorium, assigned attention. How to listen? In snow, in wind, and afterward, the pines have drawn each posture, walking from the town. Weather, come lick my eyes. Twigs open mouths forever. I can’t remember now even the shape of your mouth around that syllable. Even the syllable. There is too much now. There is just enough.
-- Jake Adam York is the author of three books of poems— including A Murmuration of Starlings (2008) and Persons Unknown (2010), published by Southern Illinois University Press in the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry. An associate professor at the University of Colorado Denver, York coedits Copper Nickel.