Murder someone in Sevastopol in December and by March there will be a present left
for someone else to find. I read this in a novel; it is a striking image, like a lit match too close
to your face and moving nearer. I want to pinch the flicker out, leave a slight contrail of smoke
like a corpse flowering in Spring. Even this image is familiar. Who doesn’t want to be found like this?
Face still red and, at first, one could believe your blood still pumps within, not without.
Saint John wrote verses about moments like that: the tearing away of old thoughts, the way light
finds itself breaking in to hidden places: city streets, subways, skulls. When given enough time, anything
will become familiar. Thousands of people walk past a snowbank every day, for now, and do not think
they are walking past a grave. When the snow is gone, so are the secrets of winter, the layers we bundle
ourselves into. We strip down to t-shirts and bloody teeth. We curl our biceps around a stranger’s neck and leave
what’s left at the bottom of a lake. It’s summer’s problem to resolve or forget. The new tradition: trawling becomes
the national pastime. I walk a street salted more out of hope than need. I whistle. It is a sweet sound,
I think. Like wind is an instrument. Like I can be unmade by the things I make. Undone by what I do.
-- Born and raised in Nashville, TN, Todd Osborne holds an MFA in poetry from Oklahoma State University. His poetry has previously appeared or is forthcoming at The MissouriReview, Big Muddy, Juked, and Hobart. He lives and writes in Hattiesburg, MS, where he is currently pursuing a PhD in poetry at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers.