poem waiting for the bus
his breath a plume of heat
in the sharp bright while
two men argue the game
ah winter how it made him
want to strip down and
get into a sleeping bag with
a stranger to fight the cold
effort at reconciling memory
after Muriel Rukeyser
Listen to me. Close your eyes. Where are you now?
I am in a dark space beneath the weight of bright
crocheted yarn blankets, in the backseat of my
grandmother's station wagon when I was young, rocked
by the uneven tread of the tires as she put papers into tubes.
I am restless. I am fumbling. Listen to me.
From somewhere in the night you ask me to think about
Narcissus, whether we need him to ourselves bloom.
I can't see him, or my father, but can almost make out the
color of the blankets he slept beneath, crocheted by his mother.
When I was eleven, my parents divorced and taught me
relativity. I see through a kaleidoscope, which never stops
shifting. I can't see you, but am queasy when I do.
Where are you now?
I am restless. I am fumbling. Close your eyes. Listen to me.
From somewhere in the dark space, beneath the weight of it
I can hear Frank Ocean's lilt. He questions the shape of
monogamy. There are shapes I question too. I could continue.
When I was twenty-two, I moved into a basement room
I couldn't afford after college and dreamt of a noose I didn't know
how to tie. I was cold. I want now to feel your warmth
around me like a blanket.
I am restless. I am fumbling. Close your eyes.
From somewhere inside of my head, an unreliable heart
is beating. If we could remember things perfectly, we would
never write anything down.
Yesterday, I think I went to bed with your name in my mouth,
but this morning I could find only my own teeth and tongue.
Where are you now? I am restless. I am fumbling.
I could continue.
About the Author: Tyler Atwood comes from a long line of subsistence farmers, but knows very little about the planting or harvesting of crops. He is the author of one collection of poetry, "an electric sheep jumps to greener pasture" (University of Hell Press, 2014). His poems have appeared in mojo, Columbia Poetry Review, Hobart, The Offbeat, Atlas and Alice, Profane Journal, Palaver, Word Riot, and elsewhere. He lives and works in Denver, CO.