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  • Two Poems
  • Michael Evans

The Behavior of Bodies, the Motion of Clocks

An orbit is a way of keeping time—
    not a metaphor
for life
  together with another life—a body and a body
at odds with the room’s linear constraints.
(The room itself is not a metaphor
    for how we live.)
The bed does not unfold like two hands
—one circling
    the other
and transparent—
as if loneliness (the beating silence of these days
  he lives without speaking) were enough
to suggest that time and distance are measured
with the same equation.
    At night, he sets the clock
to an hour
  that already exists
      (thinly, as light)
beyond the orbits he understands—
    the comings and goings
of doctors, this routine of pills.
He listens
to the elliptical path
      of his breathing
and he knows the universe will not collapse
in time to save his youth
(for yourself, sir, shall grow old as I am,
if like a crab you could go backward).
He dreams himself a young man,
      but wakes to nothing
less than he is.
He is not allowed a mirror and does not look
at his hands. Breathing, he counts
himself to sleep.
  Were he a crab, he would give up this shell.

The Love Songs of Leonardo da Vinci

Between the Eye and the Object Seen
There is another kind of perspective
which, by the atmosphere,
in a single line
  of the same size,
is able to distinguish the remotest
(as a couple)
and represent them in a picture
  —between my eye and them—
more than another
  and a somewhat equal—
them and the same density of them
and in a single line make them
and almost of the same as the atmosphere.
There is a perspective which
the atmosphere attracts
    to them—
their images exist—
and not their forms merely.
There is a kindness
    between them
able to make the nearest
    above and of its same color,
the more distant bluer.
Between the single line of them,
between the eye and moon of them—
without suffering—
  they are the same.
Among them, a rose does the same
  and other perfumes.
In the mirror of the room, these two (their bodies)
stand among the others, apart—
in the light from a single window,
they are the same
  (equal and almost)
—if each should notice the other
(their shadows opposite
the window) in the mirror above the sofa—
should see (as if distance is
    abbreviation) the other
at an angle that is the angle of the body—
if each should touch the glass
  to touch the other, isn’t it the other
who will understand this distance
    between them?—
(the other reaching out to touch) the eye
of the other (in the mirror)
will see him
(his finger on the glass) touching his own.
On the Cause of Generation
No part of the body is always the same.
The shadow of the other
and of the self
like two hands in front of a candle—
which one is twice as dark?
Which one moved across the body moves
more slowly? I will not breathe
within the light
leaking through the curtain
and the reflection of the moon.
There is proportion
to the breadth of shadow—the nearer,
the deeper it appears (as light,
only opposite). But if direct,
how long before the eye sees at a distance
another shadow move the body
such that light is of an equal size?
At that moment, stars take on the shape
of stars and the angle of the skin
is impossible to compass.
It’s the calculus of living that we need.
Touch me. Touch the surface
of these bodies placed next to each other—
the same and nearly opposite.
Come in and mingle with them.

Michael Evans

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