Sunday, February 18, 2007

What Remains by Zachary Sussman

On the nightstand, a glass of water,
a blank mirror: you’ve grown more remote
than either, the fan of your ribcage
now opening, now closed,
in time with the rasping pipes.

You’ve entered a place behind your eyes
where nothing can reach you, ignorant
of the ivy loosening the mortar, the bright
stain of the harbor, the brass clock
I forgot to wind.

Outside, if it matters, a man lights a fire
under a bridge. He has stood
a long time in the trashcan’s shadow,
waiting for the heat to bless him.

Even as the flames perform their work,
weaving a thin bandage
of smoke above the rooftops,
some cavity in his chest
still shivers under his flannel shirt.

There are places in the body
we cannot find or name.
So I am left in a room
the shape of your sleep

as the headlights of a passing taxi
graze the curtains like brushstrokes,
falling over the bedposts
until your limbs, before darkening,
are remade entirely out of light.

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