The Poetry Project

Three Poems

Terrence Arjoon

Telomere Oubliette

I bury my sickness at sea

and when I do so my life

splits open like/the stern of a ship.

This sea that we have

is what’s left,

and they designated this cairn

a “misfortune column,” to commemorate

the dead baker and his trees. At this

column we split off and head south through the

firs, smoke guiding the way.

It went more smoothly

then we thought, but now

I wish I had a million hands

like my mother,

in beaming light emissions.

At Low-Tide

When I left I laughed loudly, so that people in the world
might hear me—as I live on the far side of the river.
For a while I wrote down the name of every living thing I saw:
I read the rocks and their panegyrics,
I read the crickets, the dirt, snakeskins, crystal texts that planetary boned
and deloused. Pick up that flower from the table. What is it?
wisteria? lupine? You don’t know.
There is in me now a wormlike moment.
This movement makes me sweat painting clowns
into the coral beneath my feet. This fossil coral reveals small flowers
when lifted breath-swollen from a long night on my own,
a fractured graze of light which renders, ultimately, as more martinis.
The German photographer ordered one dirty, or, she was from
the Southwest, but we agreed that there is no right time
for the tide to drop, only that it just happens.

The Mistletoe Bough

Laughing in a ditch next to my accountant

because I tricked her into adopting a mistletoe.

Clouds pass over and under, and through it,

and there was a cherry blossom, which come spring

I would weave around my head telling stories

and talking forever only a stone’s throw away from the

beginning of cinema. When a small chest,

and an attic, the rocks turned and hid their faces.

When an ocean of light or planetary body,

or a fibrous green leaf, the stars behind me grow

brighter. When that leaf, yet to receive a name,

no leopard shall discover my body. No printer

can dispose of me, who is only a wreath, and

who kept watch on this orchard, who stars

blessed his eating of peach pits, and fiery

pomegranate bodies.

#269 – Summer 2022