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Almost Pastoral

On the roadside, a short sight from Highway 2,
a stack of what had to have been a hundred cupboards
each stocked with thousands of screws and bent
and rusty nails, old nuts and oddly sized washers.

The odor of barnwood, musty rain in late October.
Clouds dividing into nothing. The wind multiplying.

I must have kissed her at least a hundred times, each kiss
heaving us closer to sleep.

I woke up already driving away.

Construction paper blue sky. Waxy orange crayon sun.
Pumpkins lopsided along a quilted garden.

Dirt under my fingernails—as a kid I’d grub for worms,
one after the other, patching the soil behind me as I went,

but here: a hole, and I’m still digging.

Handfuls of White Kerchiefs

                                                falling from sky
            heaven coming apart
                        gracing our shoulders,

we shelve against a tree
            our breaths bold and uniting
                        rising out to meet shadows in the air,

it’s thin
            this place
                        and what separates our bodies

a fabric meant for warmth but these clothes
            we grab and half-hurried take from each other
                        because we know a warmth

greater than these layers we know the heat of two
            bodies coming together,

our skin accepts the steam that surfaces
            when snow ignites
                        your breasts     my abdomen
                                    your pubic hair    my cock,

we let the snow claim land where it can
            let it touch as we touch
                        let it feel us however it wants
                                    and oh it feels us
it feels the hard compass mapped into
            the soft folds of a southern terrain

it feels the rough wood at your back then
            how I slide in and out and in and out and
how my divining rod
            true north is buoyantly tipped and
                        in tune within you,

this sweat our sweat
            is what melts time and leaves
                        us picking up the pieces of heaven

before  we come to see we’re naked
            as the trees and the clouds have been foolishly
                        trying to cover us
            with its fistfuls
                                    of white handkerchiefs.  


Z. G. Tomaszewski currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he is a founding producer of Lamp Light Musical Festival and co-founder of Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters. His book All Things Dusk, selected by Li-Young Lee, is published by Hong Kong University Press. Website: https://zgtomaszewski.wordpress.com/.