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Posts tagged Stacie Cassarino.
At the pet store on Court Street,
I search for the perfect fish.
The black moor, the blue damsel,
cichlids and neons. Something
to distract your sadness, something
you don’t need to love you back.
Maybe a goldfish, the flaring tail,
orange, red-capped, pearled body,
the darting translucence? Goldfish
are ordinary, the boy selling fish
says to me. I turn back to the tank,
all of this grace and brilliance,
such simplicity the self could fail
to see. In three months I’ll leave
this city. Today, a chill in the air,
you’re reading Beckett fifty blocks
away, I’m looking at the orphaned
bodies of fish, undulant and gold fervor.
Do you want to see aggression?
the boy asks, holding a purple beta fish
to the light while dropping handfuls
of minnows into the bowl. He says,
I know you’re a girl and all
but sometimes it’s good to see.
Outside, in the rain, we love
with our hands tied,
while things tear away at us.
There’s no one who could be everything
for me. That’s what I tell you
walking up Seventh, and I think it sounds
good. The flea-market has just opened.
You hold up a mirror for fifteen dollars,
and I see cheekbones and clouds.
I see you sad. And then gone.
In traffic, I check my face.
In windows I remember what my body
looks like, and it is filled with shoes,
then dishware, then locals sitting
at wooden tables. They are hungry.
Once, in a town called Rising Star,
I bought a bag of Fritos
just to use the toilet. The man selling corndogs
had no teeth. He told me to take a right
at the light, then drive like hell.
Sometimes, talking with you, I want
to sell everything I own.
Across the street, women get their hair
done. A father holds his baby
like a newspaper. It is Sunday again,
and everything is for sale. A statue of Mary.
A winter coat with a fur neck. Christmas bulbs.
Upstate, the leaves are turning.
Someone is building a wall.
Someday it will become a house.
People will love in those rooms
but never tell each other.
What’s the happiest you’ve ever been? you ask.
I look around and I am a tree.
The sky is falling with birds.
The street has turned into a river.
You are thankful your body is a boat.
The day my body caught fire
the woodland darkened. The horizon
was a sea of maids, rushing to piece me
back into a girl. Out of the girl came yellow
flowers, came stem & sepal.
You never happened, they said.
The meadow was a narration of lessness.
Inside the corral, horses fell
from the impact of lightning. They broke
down. I heard gunshots in my sleep.
I was a keeper of breath,
of hay. I walked a field, collecting bones.
You can build a house out of bones.
You can stand at the doorway
quarrelling with your legs to enter
or run until you turn to ash.
The first day it feels like fall
I want to tell my secrets
recklessly until there is nothing
you don’t know that would make
your heart change years from now.
How foolish we are to believe
we might outlive this distance.
I don’t know names for things
in the prairie, where the expanse
of light and the hissing of tall stalks
make me move slowly,
like in another country before
I must share it with anyone.
In what do you believe?
In September’s slight motion
of particulars, in the weight of birds,
in lust, propulsion, maps
that lie. You should not have loved
me. Now: goldenrod, prairie-clover,
the ovate-leafed bluebell with its open
throat saying how did you expect
to feel? Colonies of prairie-smoke
and pods turning golden and papery,
the grassy plains iterating patience,
and things I cannot name.
Begin with apples reddening.
Begin with a woman touching
the cities in your feet.Hartford,
Anchorage, the Bronx. Did you ever
see yourself as more
than yourself? I walk into a part
of afternoon that deepens
inventing an endpoint
for sadness. Everyone is gone.
On the subject of deception,
where do you stand? There’s a chill
in the air and the flowers know,
the goddamned flowers, their loosed
color. Sometimes we are cruel
and we mean it. We author the house
with its threadbare linens, the false
miniatures of people saying look at me.
Will the landscape forgive you?
Is it yours to describe? What
is the sound inside your mouth?
I’m surrounded by grasslands
in ever direction. The sound
is a clamoring, because desire
is never singular and we want it
this way. We want it easy.
I have already let go
of summer. Here, the wind—
dispersal of seeds and story. Love,
there are things I cannot name.
I admit, I am afraid of isolation,
and of the way the land breaks off here
and of the woman who says forever
moving her tongue along my skin
like she means it.
If I believe her, I will suffer.
If I don’t believe her, I will suffer.
Who has never wanted to be unneeding?
One year since I’ve seen the mountains
or had proof love could be enough.
The mind loves hope.
Dumb heart, come down from the walnut tree.
All the distance is ultimately a lie.
In Alaska, the heart was a fourteen-pound King.
In Seattle, she held a fishing pole to the sky.
I will remember this version of me.
I will remember loganberry, fishscales, the future,
the letter that says: love can sidewind.
Dear god, it is years since I’ve prayed.
I understand the birds are holy.
I understand the body leads us to love, or
this is one way of knowing the world.