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The Only Turquoise Left in the Animal Kingdom, and: Plaza

From: Colorado Review
Volume 40, Number 2, Summer 2013
pp. 121-127 | 10.1353/col.2013.0057

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

The Only Turquoise Left in the Animal Kingdom

I say this having
overheard
too much, having
fixated on the
terminology—
the soffit, someone’s
bay laurel next
door. Windshield
wipers might
as well be
Greek, what
with all their
pursuing. I remember
the wasp’s nests,
which we poisoned
but never took
down. The lack,
someone said. What
fills the lack,
someone said.

I couldn’t
look in your
eyes. They were like
a flashlight
in a child’s mouth,
like nickels in
the dryer. It all
filled up, becoming
that capsule that
we would want
to open later
on, though opening
it would also be
sacrilege.

I don’t know
anything about
kingfishers
but how turquoise
they are—the
only turquoise left
in the animal
kingdom. They
show up in all
these children’s
books. Dismantlement,
someone said.
Disappearance,
someone said. It
made sense
that that flume that
carried us up
would eventually
lay waste to
this neighborhood,
those lime
trees, the sheds
falling into
themselves with a
grateful oh.

If I’ve seen
If I’ve seen
trapdoors, it’s
behind that one house
that you
like, opening
to some cellar that
vaguely reminds
you of
moss. I don’t
want to be
sentimental, like
how your eyes
open underwater
and it all
seems winsome,
blurrier. There is
a pendulum,
and in trying for
the pylon it never
gets there. I won’t
finish this
poem. If I do,
I’ll cross out the
names with the juice
from two
plums.

The commitment,
they said. Swells of
music, they
said. I hear how
kiss rhymes with
truce. If
I can get away
from what’s
preordained,
can find
that first
tsetse that landed
on your face. If
I can find
something other
than cancellation. If in
bathroom stalls
I can draw
versions of the
moon. Something
other than blood,
they said. Something
moral, they said.
Now that
the scaffolding is at
our feet, imploded,
like a carnival
tent, I say what
I have been
trying to say—
this was commitment.
I woke near
the contaminated
beaches that I
chose to live
by. Helicopters
flew over us and
censured the
dogs. I came back
to the city,
the jasmine, drunk
crows that trip through
an intersection.
The only thing left
to prove is how
little there
is left to
prove.

Plaza

Everyone’s half
listening to the people
they’re not
with. Eavesdropping
like trying to lasso
something. Late Thursday,
bombarded
by sunlight, if for
no other reason you
feel reassured
by the shops’ exactness—
lawns totally
dominated, a few
mallards beside
the army-surplus green
pools. The bungalow
theme may be
overstated, but it
has powers
of suggestion. I mean,
I’m absolutely
thinking about the
sea. I’m ready
to look up and see
the wince of
the stars. I thought
it was profound if
the girls came
here, if they called it
a mode of
tyranny. But
that’s probably
something I should have
said years
ago, and in Old English
lettering on my
back. Am I
supposed to have
some sexless
confidence called being
a husband? Are all
the vows in
one room, and does
the room smell like
mustard? The birds
seem frisky
today. They
storm each table with
an almost toxic
thoroughness.
The way you do all
this is first
by imitating someone
else and then coming
clean about the
imitation. If you
could have done us
the courtesy of
adding twenty
more minutes to the
film—a last
scene or two that
shows the pedantry
that comes
after. I want
to concentrate on
the fly’s slowness,
especially as it
makes sense of
sucralose. I can’t
believe how
loud those
girls are. Fountains,
if you look at
them long
enough, look like
a girl’s legs on
a treadmill. Hibiscus
like fists. I can’t
believe that
there are this many
underweight ducks, and
I wonder if they’ve
overheard us, if
they’ve caught on too
well. All I
can offer is the
appropriate
terminology. Silver
blankets on the
automobiles, I won’t
say why they
cover their
eyes.

Darin Ciccotelli  

Darin Ciccotelli has published poems in Fence, Hayden’s...



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