In every place there must be some wind—I feel it,
that shifting of air against my cheek,
even in the smallest places—my kitchen cabinets, the city's last
phone booth, a novelty for pictures. At the Sunday market,
I confess, I love picking misshapen fruit—
what stores would nevertake. To run my hand along
an apple's uneven surface, its out-of-roundness.
To feel the firm skin,the lopsided core like a spine.
In the center of the park, a fountain. In the center
of the fountain, a bronze statue
of Venus, green and dented with age, shit-streaked. [End Page 490]
Not even the birds love her.
;I want to find the placewhere we sing the imperfect,
where we can look up at her and say, On those waves
it looks like she'sdancing. Finches swoop low. The bus
stops, and for a moment weall sway in the same direction.
If we are brought into the world amiss, then life
must be full of this reckoning.I'm thankful for my love,
who was born a cord-wrapped blue baby
and lived. And me? I was bornfat and yellow. The first
breath I took was a sigh. [End Page 491]
jim whiteside is a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow and has been awarded a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers' Conference. His poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Poetry Northwest, and Salt Hill. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.