how human nouns
Noah Eli Gordon

They Said the Smallest Wooden Horse Was Dead in Your Costume

gone unnoticed the inevitable protagonists accrue

fragile centipede working rot into unreliable endnotes

a storm, cicadas, ribbons of smoke above the river

somewhere else a war

light falls as usual

& the hour fails to be episodic

in the most expensive suit I’ve ever worn

A Point of View apart from a Personal Embrace

watching the unfolding of an envelope

a red thread from a felt purse

landscape pulled in increments

or another anchor to architecture love

to the voiceover of someone older

if this desire for narrative outweighed

our unwillingness to concede an end

To Map the Wearing Away of Things

what endows an anecdote with so much tinder

a particular tree in how light fell

how human nouns what the nucleus of commerce won’t replicate

the world in a real enough window

money made of money a bare ankle

pacing from the vault to the podium

to fasten the world a believable cape

The Forest Burns into Later Time

all that I saw from the balcony

an evening’s warranted fiction yoked

little lamb that gathers & gathers against a half-eaten idea

I’m writing from the weather

inside a dictionary of difficult words

details solidify with each retelling

but someone coughs & the theater caves in

Nothing under the Stones but the Story of Lifting

in one scene we stood on a bridge

watching boats catch in their sails late wedges of light

there was grace, ease a hero’s mask assembled

from an hour’s background music

our inclination to trail a supposed mother toward the concrete

a crow calls out its lineage in a single note

a surrogate thorn an imperfect Xerox

A Due Measure of Duration

already dusk bringing a different feeling

to the scuttle of leaves, billboards outlining the city

outliving directives in a little book of prayers

a cue to place the pencil down & wait

for the refrain to repeat itself

somehow we sustain history

one hand making a fist, two a steeple

One Event Collapse into Another’s Unsaid

an evening worn on the locality of thinking

imagined as a tactile day-moon

unanchored as I am

by letters, books, creased sheet music

cicadas’ shells lodged between lengths of sawed lumber

the public they, gloved in expectancy

O sweet Rashomon, it is thick & manageable & perpetual

It Was Raining near Dusk & I Was Still Reading

from a window painted shut to a woodcut

of the player’s fingers nailed to a flute

beautiful as laugh tracks alone with our wallets

I’d call you uncomfortable in dress shoes

while the night comes undone waiting

still there is lightning & inevitable rot

the pronoun’s shadow—its dark lake

Simple as a Wall Painted Blue

scaled from sovereignty to ethos

the logic of a button worn from overuse

I’d change my shirt to say “story of the day”

like a coin that previously fit the slot no longer deserving

another city’s disorder or the bird’s moronic circles

evolving a gentle etymology of sky

memory handles what comes to sister missing

Figuration in Conflict with an Afternoon

whose you is a whisper all verb

whose you a child’s hair in flames

whose you is replacing a curtain

whose you is thickening the mortar

whose you imprinting a beating heart

whose you aged a flower

who found it dried in the center of a book

An Approximation of the Actual Letter

I died in a book

& couldn’t touch the ink around me

it was autumn

I died in a book asking

the word for leaf for leave

I died in a book on the eve of music

in the distance, another distance

If There Is Always a Room’s Reversal of Events

a painted over presence from ear to understanding

what won’t wash in the agreed upon outcome

of a stand-in for our refusal of silhouettes

spilling momentous into scenery

a still life not so gone to greener pastures

that I can’t forgive myself an afternoon

unlocked unbroken untangled unaired