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Four Poems
An Exit to the Right of My Head

            Lift, lower, extend.
Our terms are these.
As you once decreed
post-tangle (so it felt):
“Pay me no mind for a constant return.“ You meant
to the constant present, right?

The machinery
of space I inhabit with the rabbits, the elegant
mules. All you wanted was a
place to be yourself. Me
too. We should meet the stepped hills
with reverence I agree.

            You work me up
into compartments, each of dimension
that feels as stone must
to the cold that endorses it.
You say “hot-rolled steel.”
You say “equal incline.”

Your thinking misses me
by several feet. A forty-foot walk-in tower
is your latest run-on
structure. It describes
where I’m at.
To thistle etceteras, my love.

            You consume
my eyeline, my totally
transitive body. No through-line
occurs. Your kiss
is a hindrance. The knock-it-off polish
is on my new hand.


The Blizzard

you could have been, having
and having at the bodies, mowed.

            You do gaze for days.

out of the window, two buildings and
some weeds, a few
jacks-of-the-pulpits perhaps?


Ideally you would know
                          you know:

“There were three buildings and two
spaces between them so it went like this:

life life life/       /       /nice nice nice”



Easily I see this morning’s
                                                         bitterness, the part of me that
                                                         my face wasn’t ideally
clamor, claim, hours now ago
the wool of him
                                                         around me, raw, breathing
with me, some piece of air that is
                                                         many pieces of air, the blond window
in design
                                                         not only surprising
giving or given
                                                         but also sweet, a sweet wind


Facing the Harbor

He was looking out a window
in a room he had agreed to. “What then,”
he said, “let a few more in?”
He saw the people in the sun

were each a chain link, or he was,
and said, “Oh,
to be seen through.”
Moving forward was attached.

He heard a man call back that a wave
was a “dazzle.” No, he thought, it’s a motion
of the done with, set off by
the flatter land. Where anyway one lives.

The harbor’s low backing made him feel
that air. He recognized the view was everywhere:
a boy going by threw his voice
and sang, “Only then did I see

what he was.” Oh, he thought, to be led on
by the difference.
He swore he heard a boy sing, out loud,
as if to him, “You’ll only be small, ever since.”

Nathaniel Rosenthalis is the senior fellow in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis and the author of the chapbook Try Me (Deadly Chaps Press).