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Muddy Hymnal

            and the photos   I don’t  have
of   women  I kissed  and places  I left
  before I knew   where to say I was :   the
half life  of  rot :  somewhere there’s
 a picture  of V staring   into the camera
wearing next   to nothing  :  this  picture :
I was   then elbows-deep  daily in bike-grease
+ convinced  proximity to the machinery
  of movement would  ease the ache of
  stasis :  there’s always  more  that needs
                  doing  : this picture   she sent
  wrapped    in purple underwear   :  soft
  + heady  as the way  one   in winter
  imagines lilacs  will smell mid-May :  this
picture :girl in    purple underwear,  her
  body  frictionless because  the   liquidity
 of youth,  how she cocked   out her hip
                        ditto  her chin,   haughty
the way   only those  who’ve lived   inside
a great beauty’s chorus can be : + me : that
                        she chose blah-faced
 smoke-hungry  forgettable   me : : : :  how
her  lips   parted in the photo,  the  length
   of her back   reflected  in  the mirror
behind her : everything : every : thing :  she
sent two prints : just in case ha ha : I carried
   one, kept it   pocketed  as  I   pulled
broken spokes   recabled brakes   trued wheels : I
   snuck looks at it   on smoke breaks :  this
was  that   long ago,  when standing next to
 a dumpster’s  stink  smoking  was   among
the day’s  best  moments :  she’s looking at me
I’d  believe,  my head  light with breathlessness
+ faith : right at me :  I told  myself  to believe
which  meant  I  never  would : :   later she
said I thought I’d  spend my life thinking every camera
was your face : more  at home  with  her  desire  than I
 could  possibly have then  been :  with mine :
 she must have been even   more beautiful  than
I recall :  as perhaps was I : as perhaps  is any
river one either  jumps too much  or not enough in to :


eating the fake everything

                   : wife upstairs asleep with life inside her
the size of a lemon and growing daily, deeper DNA
            + the thick selfhood it’ll someday blaze as it
on these very stairs I sit within yards of will stand
            + shout how I don’t understand, that that’s
not it, that’s not what I meant, at all. History is every
                        joke we tell ourselves when the reruns
get tiring and when my niece pointed to the fake
            apples atop the too-expensive table at the
furniture store and asked do they taste real? I said of
            course with the same laugh my mom laughed
when I asked if the Picasso on the wall of her classroom
                        was a real copy. Food goes in, words
come out, the dog whimpers as he chases squirrels
                           in his sleep : after arguing, my wife
and I sit in softer light recalling earlier meals when
            glasses were less freighted, each knifestroke
easier to swallow. At home my dad sits at his bench,
                        loupe looped over his forehead + he
pulls the back off another Rolex + I ask, again, how
               can you tell it’s real. He holds it to to his ear,
its cluster of golden gears like a most beautiful secret,
          then looks over + winks, says tick tick tick tick.


The Visible World

Now that the year nears
its end when you turn back
all you see is rim. To think
it could’ve been so easy
this whole time to fall in, that
you were never as snow-stuck and/
or tucked-into warmth as you
believed, that Februarycould’ve
been anything. Looking back’s
like this: yesterday in line for
a coffee I didn’t need I spoke
to where my love’d just stood,
            asked what’dyou want +
a man replied more than I can tell
a stranger. In October I’ll have
to rake leaves donated to my own
front yard by my neighbor’s trees
while wearing a shirt which sports
holes from who knows which night
            I borrowed loud cheer, in
my tatters I’ll drive to the town compost
+ dump my post-colonial trees-
without-borders leaves, glad
to have finally found a place
where everyone can come to leave
themselves in pieces, the road
washboarded by rainwater, patterns
we move unknowingly among and
/or through, the dumped leaves
+ lawn detritus tended to by
the mutiny of season because every
thing’s a vessel because friction is
the world’s father because each moment’s
full and empty as the mug next to
the blind guy two booths down
whose face registers nothing
as he raises his mug and appears
to drink deep.  


Weston Cutter is from Minnesota and is the author of You’d Be a Stranger, Too and All Black Everything.