Another Failed LDR
I taste him in your mouth, his name stretched
past three syllables on your frosted tongue.
Combination of lime & taffy dreams. Lipstick
on your teeth like perfumed blood. Kiss goodbye
blotted on the bathroom mirror. You hold
phones in place of babies & beaus. Condensed
love pressed to your ear like a conch shell.
It isn’t waves you long to hear, anymore
but merry message-chimes. Acronyms
absorbed into your workday. I’m shocked I hear
him in your voice, your disconnected overage,
the lack of hang-ups as you brush my gums
in your need to feel something IRL.
We all sound the same in text form. You won’t
even have to close your eyes & pretend.
I’m learning how to be mentally present
such that I’m more likely to hear random things
I don’t know I want to know yet
Eyes like ripening fruit, an image
Enters, plunges into heart and is gone.
Gather the emptiness in your arms
Until they overflow. Trap the voices
In resin, melt it so they flutter away
Out of order—aimless moths.
Conjuring is the spitting out of words.
These are only words. Let them in.
Freezing in the gray light, the wind
at our backs like an anchor,
our boat steadies itself against the moon
and the captain’s hand. We tack across the sound
where the scallops are hidden.
We’ve prepared the nets again, patched
and mended our traps,
coiled the thick, sea—green ropes.
Our tongues are still raw from coffee.
We watch the wolf moon, still red, Continue reading
We’d drink until the stars went out, then scrounge
an hour or two of sleep before our shifts
hopping the subway in from Brooklyn, Queens,
jacked up on NoDoz, Yoohoo, vitamins
eyelids sagging like chintz drapery.
The day kept trying to dawn
and finally gave up, as if to say
today has been cancelled
due to lack of photons.
Nothing but wind and cold all
afternoon in the deepening gray
lashing us poor souls below.
At the hour of not quite twilight
the first flakes come down
slantwise like drunken
a spiral staircase to
the bargain basement.
They giggle and collapse on
each other, beginning to pile up.
It may be months before we can
scrape away their costume jewelry.
Kurt Luchs has poems published or forthcoming in Into the Void, Antiphon, The American Journal of Poetry and The Sun Magazine. He placed second for the 2019 Fischer Poetry Prize, and won the 2019 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. He has written humor for the New Yorker, the Onion and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, as well as writing comedy for television and radio. His books include a humor collection, It’s Funny Until Someone Loses an Eye (Then It’s Really Funny) (2017 Sagging Meniscus Press), and a poetry chapbook, One of These Things Is Not Like the Other (2019 Finishing Line Press). More of his work, both poetry and humor, is at kurtluchs.com.
This poem was first published in Crosswinds Poetry Journal.