across two states, counting roadkill, recording
my speed in miles
per dead thing.
Today I have this beautiful poem by Kristin Chang that does what I always imagined good poetry should; skirt the line between beautiful and painful, the vivid and uncertain. There are too many moments in this poem I want to share with you that I could come near enough to reciting the entire thing back to you.
He smiles with rubbled
teeth, cavities clean as bulletholes. Asleep, he’s still as a shot
& skinned animal.
There’s something about retracing difficult moments, conflicting or painful memories, laying recollection down on the dissection table, that doesn’t always translate perfectly to poetry. This is a perfect example of the opposite. It begins to feel like poetry is the only way to remember, to work backwards in a way that shapes sense from circumstance, if that’s at all possible. The language and imagery is crisp and rich, evoking a juxtaposition of sensory input that leaves a negative afterimage lingering when you shut your eyes; the sensation of something alive, something bright and breathing and sweet, something waiting to be unspooled.
In California, my first fatherless
home is infested with beehives
vibrating walls into muscle.