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Three Poems
Self-Portrait as the Speech of the Mime

It might begin with lips enclosing speech.

Not movement, but the possibility of movement withheld. 

He evokes the direction of circus animals and it doesn’t take. 

Nor is there gesture for the kissed-off color of the sky, 

A way to say

The knife glints in the crosshairs of stars 

Like a plot point.

The tongue fallow as a field is fallow

And in it I as though a hunter

In the unfurl of the hunted, 

The rhetoric of a horse already drowned. 

To think is to think of oneself

But not of I

For whom would I speak?


Cloture on the Reinstatement of Day

The soup is dark. I think of fish hearts
floating in the river. The canal we called the river. 

It was not faith, exactly, that interested you. 
The din of objects. Silvery, there. Floating. 

Some negative starlight. 
An error in category, perhaps. 

The body that would say as much. The outline 
of Indiana cloud-cover. 

For weeks I’d dreamt the dreams
of the deposed monarch. 

The dinner conversation had moved past 
the context of what you’d waited so long to say. 

Nothing follows from this. Outside shadows 
across the gouache-lit valley, implacable whispers.



It would seem to have broken

              down there. 

The curtain rended, 

              the shorn linen

                            which depicted

              what was then thought to be the whole of history, 

              but at remove, that is 

                            as myth. 


              the book reads. 


Its foreignness might strike us

                            though we imagine           endlessly

              ourselves              as though discrete, 

filing into 

              those inner rooms and wandering salt-crusted

                                          shorelines soon be peopled, the expectant 

congregation encircling the place where a speaker might stand. 

                            And thus the position takes hold. 

              But witnesses we are not; 

                            nor even to the more basic acts, 

some unprecedented gesture toward the broad sky

or the mere need to point, to say

                                                        this is the actual world; 

              this will be called the actual world. 

                                          But it is for us the ease of inheritance, 

the modeling of the built city 

and we have only to find ourselves in it. 


A beginning is sought but it is the beginning of a circle. 

                                                                              Not capture but caesura. 

              The afternoon sky puddles into bulbous clouds 

which too dissipate 

              to be encountered finally only as remnants of one sort or another, 

suggesting what they cannot offer— 

                            The wandering tracts of land

              bisected by the routes

of burgeoning commerce. 

              Nothing escapes the exchange of value: the landscape

seen as the marbling of the difference 

                                          from which we might speak our names. 


The event, we say, occurs. 

We have chosen this, 

              the enfolding of history: 

a barren seabed

              and the bodies of fish

prove enough to begin its telling. 


The child refuses to speak without holding the fish in his hands. 

Even then he refuses to say fish. 

There is not an ache more basic, 

like asking for the curtain to be lifted 

              and feeling only a weight in the mouth 

and in the distance the fields are burning.

Brandon Kreitler is from Arizona and is currently a graduate student at Columbia University. He is working on his first book of poems, some of which have been published or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Diagram, Maggy, Eoagh, and Sonora Review.