Phenomenology of Giving


Kristin Abraham


Since Our Hero's been Gone for

His words like boiled oats- I see some real progress here, meaning, It's better than what we've done in the past. That snarl he developed- Off she goes again with her knife. Her one last glare- I had to open myself open. His bit of advice- Take all of that sympathy out. Too late, now, see? meaning Perform yr ablutions. He slept in his boots, fangle-toothed. He slept in his chalk-striped pants. As if to say so. To say no. Horseless loose, oneiric consultations. This, her life. This his. When it rains the world escapes, meaning my world, meaning less self for you. Trees grew egregious and any second chance could be the second. That birth, theirs. This is going to sting a bit. Besmirched full-of-hope container. I want to be the only good, in other words, Take care of me; I'm precious. That growl-sound, inuring- Learn yr words, or, Mind yr words. And a knuckle of acorns for coffee- (Click. Click.) Shall I boil some up? Pour out a cup? Her pinkless blue eyes, chest filled in silver-basted leaves just near a heart, playing at house, crooked sternum. Takes it black. Right down the devil's throat. His no idea, he came to be on his knees, an invasion not without coast. I'm going to take a look inside, as if to say, Attend to yr smiles, as if Doctor's orders. In the town where the miracle occurred- Pregnant surface, for lack of better terms, a trick of stretch. She was a pleasure, a pleaser-

At the Hour of His Strange Dying

Frequent goes on where he left her. Home, an insignificant display of fluttering hand to throat, patchwork feebleness. An ox paws her eardrum, bile like wax in her mouth; she scatters feed, chick-chick, feed, cranks necks and strips feathers.This is not what our people do.

Tonight, she folds boredom, his letters into bowties: Bringing your sugar and print cotton; twisted, fanned and crimped. The letters don't tell her his lungs are full up with woolies, no love, no bones about it. They don't tell her he won't have any pearls for her, not if he returns, though she excuses this: he is not one to rag proper.

Now, nigh to a hush, he's gone bright pinch around the eyes, rolling up in himself like a bug exposed. His guts are stuffed, cotton and cheat grass, a series of sipped and fibrous breaths; the horses stand over him, steam.

Now, she holds a needle to lamplight and eyes it, sighs out shiny figures like bubbles: drifting strand of o's, shy white corsets, dancing horse, leather lariats and gloves. They bump the ceiling, to be owned and fed; my chickens, my ghost outbursts.

From sky-pitched distance, he sees her lamp-slippery wrists and luck like a bruise she investigates ritually: my proof. He hears her turbulence, a tinder of birds, her I can smell the snow coming.

The Disappearing Cowboy Trick

He'd felt it at birth, this wreck, he'd 
predicted. Our days stopping up 
that slot in the sky. He'd felt it, that omen, 
sun-beaten, that vision. His curse to bear witness, 
to proselytize: they have a stink, these bodies,
full of nothings and nevers. They're forged 
out of woodsharps: our hands full, our eyes. 
Less than dolls, he told us, our hearts dented 
dollars, dull dollars, poor flies. And this ending, 
this moment, one way to unfold-It's done. 
Quick as thought, our chalk teeth dissolve. Not one
spreads his wings, not one self expunged. Can't 
cogitate scapegrace, repetition or rapture-  
Mercy by now a million thumbs in our eyes.

Don't Give up Five Minutes before the Miracle

Shouldn't the frantic roll bits of God
in their mouths.  Shouldn't they flush all that
gravel out.  Shouldn't it fly.  Shouldn't it 
scatter.  Shouldn't it all.  Shouldn't our hero
be redeemed by it all.  Smell the dirt in it all.
Rise with it all.  But shouldn't our hero, lurid
with feathers, stay like his spurs, stay 
like his horse, his stockings, straw shock,
his stand-off at noon, fight-to-the-death,
"I'll skate on you when hell freezes over,"
scorched-out smell, residual powder.