George Kalamaras

Two Poems

With What Bird Might the Blood of Jorge Teillier Be Named?

         He spent his years talking to the dead.  To the sarcophagi he kept in a
magazine below his bed, he would sometimes ask, With what bird might we
name the blood in the wrist?
  He spent talk-years chalking back his own bone.
He chose words recognized as adult translations of, kiss this psychic slit-of-a-
wrist
and but why me?

         Yes, childhood hurt but not as much as its loss.  Everything, he knew,
began from shadow. And so his loss, this dark midnight, was strangely
incomplete.  Great primordial carp that was neither black nor gold. 1:00 a.m.?
2:00?  3:53?  Recall the tree with 17 rings of familial separation, seven of
which belonged to his cousin, Delia, whom he’d dared not kiss.  Recall Jorge
Teillier still monstered in swamp.  Recall the train, his irreparable trains, and
the wanton hips of Chile.  Recall the eelgrass already grown up through his
net-yet-dead.  Rib.  Hip.  Slit-of-a-wrist if he only could?  Oh, great testicular
descent to which I am inscribed
, he’d say, leaning toward the smoke of a far-
off train, kissing that photo of the sarcophagus, wishing—for once—to lift the
lid.  Recall, recall, he’d say.  Recall it all.



Contiguous Salt

Now we ask ourselves all the algorithms of now.
We sniff the bone, we chew it, we do not chase our tail.

Sometimes I imagine the coccyx of a perfect stranger, marvel at what we’ve
     lost.
It ties us together—not an invisible wag or bend between legs, but the loss
     itself.

When I ate the fresh pear soup, something in me moved to the rhythm of the
     branch.
I felt a rise and fall on the altar of the spine and recognized the wood splints of
     many incarnations, the fort that kept as much of me out as in.

The places between each rib suggest the multiple ways we open to death.
I have slid slantwise through the thorax of a stranger, just because I recognize
     her throatlatch strain.

So now it’s erotic seasonings, and the curry leaves of your voice enter me and
     remind us of shared heat.
I love you, darling, for that—of course—but more for the way a look or touch
     in Fort Wayne sun lets me remember the many lives that brought us two
     together, to the warming of contiguous salt, the wholeness in the loss of
     now.


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