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A conversation with S.J. Seidenberg

Breathless


I

Hepatic sump, unsexed of clutch,
colloidal engine of decay,
has stalled upon your vain redux
and though I can’t make out the fault
in first or second order cause
I now have reason to believe
that I can neither make it in, if that’s
a sufferable phrase, by which
I mean that it provides a clearer
image of your rancor till
there’s nothing nearly left to last,
to trace or try, to try or trim
the image of your breathless—


II

Grin-stretched lips caress the cheeks
into a plicate frenzy,
as the sculpting of a sail
drunk with the intermittent breeze
portends to set the wind to contravene
the chaos of its flapping,
though in truth it only animates
the enterprise of cleaving off,
of parsing out, of cutting in,
the rub of slivered surfaces,
once thought a single plane.


O let your molder swallow up
this Wehrmacht of abrasions,
the tongued hull disappears from greasy
board to latticed hinge.
This is a feast absented both
of pabulum and craving,
the armature of ebb forsakes
eviscerated tides—


III

The threshold and the arc
are huddled into rigid poise,
and this defeat, to live again,
you would not render,
not to pin the last of shadows
fettered after gloaming
to the rented shins,
a beggar’s hoard unreadied
to receive what you would
pit asunder, deficits
you’d freely sieve across
the perforated borders
of your once secure demesne,
your groping cull,
your tattered scrim—


IV

You seemed to live again,
to play the stasis of repletion
as a child’s promise, everything
on offer for a chance
to win a standard, stand
the standing of a witness
to the spoliated barrens
as a winding sheath.

This your stasis, bearing under,
under canopy of thistle
where the hunter’s blind once dangled
as an atavistic stain
was your final image
of the wild, of the bearing under,
image under image
of the plundered blank,
the void at large—


V

Who holds the rifle, sights the stag,
will take the measure of its horns.
Those points, perhaps you realized,
were not sharped to pierce
your distal regions,
soaked in serous velvet
as the blood seal of a vow.
Who grips the hasp of sweaty shift
and longs to rip the urethane
dissepiments of sterile sheets
from skin sewn, sallow gown.
What cold, what leap across the strand
will hold you from that feigned abyss
and gather from the rimpled pleats
of blistered lips the immanence
of absence, thus
your crowning gasp,
your breathless code—


VI

Athwart this vernal crux, the summer
turns to you and glowers
at the choice of such a backwash,
such a visionary molder for
a final view, in stillness driven
savage, rendered casually brutal,
the completion of the trust that stirred
the stew of your relations, saw you
severally redacted
from the season’s close.
The white noise has gone plastic
to avenge the potted jungle
you thought such a stalwart vestige
of your posture, of your standing,

as a last repose—