Woke to the sounds of bells, or the sounds
of great sorrow, where summer was
a pinprick, and we drove the rim of a country,
sweetjuice in your laugh.
I had a name for all your angers–scarlet
lever, cardinaled fist,
O skittish kite, twirl there in rainfall’s
afterglow. Yes, the canopy
of your touch won’t salve, the nape
of your neck a cool river.
Canoe me. Foster me another chance.
The meadow’s arrival, my palms
touching the tops of flower, then stars hung
by tiny strings, and the moon,
first a fingernail, then, a halo
halved, gaining its clarity.
Below what we cannot reason, rectangles
multiply themselves into
homes, the daylight giving your shadow
density, though I cannot
dwell in the sleep of it. Forgive
my salt–the fineness
that wonders what to make of polar ends,
to be here and not, everything set to expire.
NOTE TO CANCER
Remember, in those waning days,
where the house filled with faces
and flowers and I took drives
through the mountains, haunted
by the brightness of summer,
just to get away from people
sharing with her half-life body
their final letters.
There was that book, remember,
little and red like our eyes,
and my father would pull over that small
chair, and sit next to her hospice bed,
and she would fight off the weight
of you enough to turn her naked
body towards him, childlike,
and in her chest, bells, chiming.
In my torment, I roam
the hours he spent next to her, with
that little red book of love poems,
his voice strangled by the
crescent of her mouth,
where acres of breath
dwindled to inches.
Remember hearing him?
Were you moved?
Nick Stanovick is a writer and educator living in Brooklyn. He is an alumnus of Temple University and Auburn University, an International Poetry Slam Champion, and the winner of the Robert Hughes Mount Jr. Prize. His poems have appeared in Spillway, Vinyl, The Academy of American Poets, Ghost City Review, and Drunk In a Midnight Choir among others. He is currently an MFA candidate at Queens College in New York City.