Sinister Poem By Forrest Gander
As if a distinction might be drawn at the edge of a
As if this might shake us by the teeth.
You know that vagrant at hogkilling time he goes
farm to farm collecting dried bladders.
This is the bone he stuck in your gate.
As if the salted beer foam and boiled egg were
repercussions of our own feeling,
as if the barn swallows told us nothing.
He burns a scent into his clothes
to cover the hogstink, he chews on cloves.
As if this sentence were a cliff
and a witness, that dry birdnote its postulate.
Shows up at The Triangle one Saturday a month,
sits across from the mirror.
As if transformation came
from the isomorphic pressure
of close attention. As if, tenting his fingers,
his beauty were purified by restraint.
Outside the package store, with that Polaroid
you gave me, I took his photograph.
I’ve had these sooty paw prints under my eyes,
he said, since time out of mind.
As if the sadness of pictures
had to do with our exclusion,
even from those in which we appear.
As though our theories unfit us for wholeness,
and the surfaces were crazed,
and there were not time
to recover the yolk of ourselves.
He admired his likeness. My wife’s blind,
he told me. Last night in the yard,
fireflies come out. Fireflies, I said.
She nodded yes. Then I heard, far off,
what she heard, horseshoes clanging.