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Always Leaning Through The Edge Of Myself And Feeling Nowhere

D. C. Reid
From:   Open 24 Hours. Fredericton, NB: Broken Jaw Press, 1997.

How when daytime comes to extinguish the night do we know the moment,
         do we say, now, now we are
                                                  completely changed;

the time Samantha ate a mouthful of guitar and I slept with her in the hospital,
             folded to a linoleum chair; the wall where my head kept hitting
I would later decide to call a pillow.

Through a nearby window of the past, a child's face, black eyed, intent,
                          and the surprise that it is my own, or a face much as my own:

                     the child, not a man or woman just yet,
        discovering the shock of the first orgasm, and coming back from that place,
becoming a thing again, sentient, then the smell of lemon oil, the dusty piano.

How then the body lies open-handed in the indolence and beauty of perfect sleep.

For me, the problem in all this well-phrased nostalgia is this: real life,
and it is always rushing towards me, like a wasp
the more it is pushed away.
                                      Truly, I confess it, I came of age in an oxbow.
I had walked into the foothills and taken off my clothes. Warm mud, intricate
with trails of insects.
                            There is no other English for I fucked it and I fucked it,
and found no relief; what boys are reduced to in the time before women.

     When her time would wait no more, Samantha left a tampax wrapped in tissue, a little bun
     on the windowledge. The bathroom
                                                     with the smell of steeped blood behind the door.

Then the way a human person becomes aware of himself when he is being watched.
I looked up from my spent poem to a cliff which will always be there but also here.
There I find the horse on two thick legs fingered with veins.

Then the eye of the horse, a flash of judgment, blue and deadly
as the pools where old plutonium decays.

I pull my muddy penis from all that's beneath me. My daughter flies right through me,
her wild corona of hair or mane, call it what you will.
And the memory is seared by this light that finds the crack in things.

So the old fear or shame is once more upon me, I am no longer certain of the term,
the knowing there is no one I can turn to and ask, am I a man?

D. C. Reid's works copyright © to the author.

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