keeps watch poems after Jennife Nevitt’s Sans Terre1
What looms and carries: the headstone but also what is behind it tall cedar pillar so whole smells sweet and larger than life-like torso-less figure leaps left pushes my eye to follow outline and fill the degrees of which and what fleeting traces what movement what still remnants
Consider a sailor on a lonely vessel painting flags, stand-ins for saying I am altering my course, I am dragging my anchor, I require medical assistance, keep clear— I am maneuvering with difficulty. I remember how often words are not good or enough, how they turn to stutter in the wind, though, anyway, I put word to air in speech— feel how pitch shifts, how it may muffle or echo, how tenor is held—no, beholden to body.
Concrete sill holds a doorway with tenuous draping. I do not walk through, for fear of covering: for both the shroud and my own undoing. With tenuous draping, a balance of tension my own undoing between weft and warp winding right angles slight light seeps: a balance of tension through an evidence, warm quiver of hand in fear of covering: circle each passage, gray shades centrifugal, behind the darkest dyed center, the tide is loosed, it will not hold: most parts of room fade from view through this film, blurred covering.
Hesitant monument: concrete anchor slab on which cedar armature as body rests hollow and of tenable height wrapped in threadbare such sparse fibers and silver sheaths slipping off in air and with air vent tugging this the alert symptom some thing amiss how body keeps watches falls a way.
At seven, wake— rise through folds of cotton, news paper and self so trying must find clothes— until kettle scream, my tea steeps I sip steam out wrinkles in last night’s dream, no, must retrace lines, see signals flag through oil grime in through time, no faint glyphs etched just creases in ink impressed fine, I want for peel: bright orange, its rind, one S in pith now sealed on page, this beacon, mine.
This article was commissioned and developed as part of a series by guest editor Jordan Rosenow.