Jack Christian is THERMOS’s blog poet for late January. His poems have appeared in notnostrums, Noo Journal, Mississippi Review and elsewhere. He is the author of the chapbook Let’s Collaborate from Magic Helicopter Press.
OUR AIR IS MORE A BRANCH
In a room we ride a bike a little.
We think of curves and hills and road signs.
We think of summits and our legs’ precision.
We do it long enough and start to think of other things.
I feel good on the couch and good when I sleep.
I know if we sit together long enough
I’m going to put my arm around you. We’re going to lose time.
It’ll feel like we’ve stopped it and it’ll be moving on.
We’ll be surprised, later, when the day has changed
that it was ordered and now is not
and we were going a great distance
but it was always just another rise.
On the vague path that follows the ridge.
You can see where to go by the patterns of branches,
and by looking up where it’s still a little light,
and by picking your knees up
and making your feet more sure than the rocks and roots.
By the one star that traces from west to east
because it’s a satellite,
and sureness is a thing to tell about.
There’s the fairgrounds, and the airport,
then the cornfield approaching the river.
The river is hidden by a row of scrub and trees.
I climb to vantage points and look out at places
and imagine myself there.
If I grow tall enough to walk from top to top?
If I walk too far will you pick me up at the top?
There’s an abandoned house and a place to park.
If it storms I’ll sit on the bench on the covered veranda.
It’s the kind of view you want to see how far
a paper airplane would sail – but it wouldn’t go far –
and where you see the hills are older than the river.
I went up enough I could name all the peaks
from the helpful diagram.
I named them all after people who died,
then later, in spring when I had that much energy,
and once on a snow hike. I met a guy taking photos.
We can find my car on our way back
from a dinner somewhere else.
We’ll see it as part of the mechanism
that one thing leads to another,
how its socks then shoes, then from the house and back,
and goodbye-for-real, and the day is next.
The evening is after that.
There’s a baseball game.
There’s a pitch in baseball that is fast as hell,
and is more notable for being completely accurate,
and actually has no velocity.
With a pitch like that, it’s true, there are a million different things
to think for a second to hurry after, but don’t.