You can’t fake the way you see the world. You have the eyes of an artist,
the eyes of a mechanic, the eyes of a mother. Describe the first tree limb
your hands ever touched, that cold scaly bark, dirty flecks of grit and tree
sticking to pink flesh. Do you recall the sounds, the wind hissing through
leaves and birds’ wings, the whispers of your hair brushing the tops of
your ears, dogs barking, parents saying stay in sight. Recall the first time
you drew a face, in your mind that uneven circle, those squiggles of line
and color, became your mother, became you. Draw a face now. See it.
You can’t fake the way you feel the truth. You have the heart of a child,
the heart of a poet, the heart of an asshole. You see a stranger’s tattoo
and you ask them what it means, what kind of testament their body
couldn’t own. Remember that first kiss, how new it was, how the beating
and breathing parts seemed to swell like a creek in flash flood, trapped
by muscle and bone. Remember the agony of good-bye, all that flood,
all that new, collapsing in on itself, displaced, the heart a drain,
an unfinished novel. When you were young you wanted everything,
every animal, every insect belonged in a jar, to flit and peck against the glass
until still. Now, the butterfly lands, kisses your finger, and returns to the sky
with your taste on its tongue. If you could, you would sketch that image
in the margin of this poem, but the lines and squiggles drawn into the white
are just lines and squiggles, taking the shape of nothing, a self-portrait
of a poet, a mechanic, a child, a mother, and an asshole.
Jay Sizemore writes poetry and short fiction out of necessity. His attention span is too short for novels. Blame the internet. His work has appeared in online and print journals such as DASH, Ayris, Spry, Apercus Quarterly, and Tongue. Currently, he resides in Nashville, TN with his wife and three cats.
Bay Laurel / Volume 2, Issue 2 / Summer 2013