Cassie Donish: Three Poems

As a continuation of our feature of Cassie Donish’s poetry, we’re excited today to present three new poems. Please check back tomorrow for a short interview with Cassie, and after that she’ll officially join our staff as an editor. — AS



The Painted Trees


“summer berries”
a tiny restaurant / afloat


with afternoon sun / traffic noise


intoned your first poem /
was incidental


the ancient script and score:
before the stars were planted in the sky
the trees were planted in the woods, before…


tree leaves like berries / berry-winged birds


the now of branches / round and round the house


*


who was the we of whom you often spoke?


walking arm in arm on a narrow road
        cars that skim our hair / children at play


                (who will grow old and die or else die young)


you glanced at the roof
where a dog lived once


if everything / disappeared


it’s clear you’d / come here


and call for the dog
for hours


*


but to stop with all
the hypotheticals
conditionals old as / our condition


to move directly
into the metaphorical—


walking downtown / felt sick
leaned against concrete pillars / threw up pink


moments moved
in both directions / imagined properties of light


and something makes
something probable—


impossible / to forget / the painting:


how we stood at the edge of the strait
watched it tilt


and expand / and the waters


shone / unbelievably



Augustus


You’ve come back from abroad
and all you want’s
a margarita
as we sit at a table
on the sidewalk
at the end of summer
unfolding each word
like a feared diagnosis.
I apologized, you wished
I’d said something
else, and vice versa.
I asked
if I could squeeze
lime onto the flesh
where your palm meets
your wrist.
Fine, you said,
pressing a nickel
through your scars.
You wanted to throw
the shining truck across
the restaurant.
I became enfolded
in an unintelligible series
of decisions and retreats
from those decisions
and to decide
was like trying to distinguish
the color of a tree’s leaves
at various times of day
and from various angles,
and at night not seeing the tree at all.



Summit


                                        to pour


into one another’s                       line of


vision an                         image: stockings,


say:                                   father,
friend, phone, leather
glove, siphon
                            this night


in which I approach


the edge of
the ravine where the
train stopped


                it recoils with each
account or does it
advance


this blue night cut
out of water, dirty
humid light, scissor
it up, serve it here
we’ll taste
everything
together


*


I allow the easy
sliding away from
one color


into a flower of sheets
knowing I said
otherwise, said I
don’t allow only
to hear the sound
of it, to call
it untrue


one way to mislead
is to stay in one place
while everyone
else keeps
walking


*


where is the pink
bed of water
from whence
this dark


you wake (I wake)
and any other
coincident thing, any


final thread leads back
to a lit
pool, greened
by undertow
pink tones inflecting
this as a body


*


I opened my mouth to taste the world
the final sweet preserves of a given
in which we stand in the kitchen
opening every
empty jar


I dive in you dive
up I dive through
the green ring


and slide
again toward
a mirror so dark, I can’t
see anything


body of a dog
sky hinged to a door
waiting for fallout


my hair
                        yesterday’s
fire                     caught


in a disaster or was the earthquake—no,
no earthquake lasts that long


*


I only felt
you leave as trembling


I only love
to be a haunting


                                        I consider any verge
a haunting


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