Issue 24: Theodore Worozbyt


With my pinky finger bleeding, Russia disappears, just as expected. It isn’t bad. I take out my little black notebook that I keep on my person to record observations. I rub my knuckle on the slide and slip on a cover. I dot myself with India ink. It spreads through my eyes. “A million, million million, million million million cells,” is what I read and then climb onto the white-graveled roof to watch the eclipse through a shoebox. It does not arrive like a liquid dart piercing the closer sky and inverting its imago on foil glued to the rear. It does not arrive. I stare through the lunar windows instead, into a kitchen where a black and white television plays and no one is cooking. Life, on those other planets in the book the faceless European lady gave to me, might be possible. Brownian motion is what makes the soul afraid of itself. It’s hard to go on much further from here.


I lodged the brown heater cube between the wall and my pillows and at the foot of the bed the window showed the bush that was many plants growing through an original bush and the red birds would light there and peck on the sill looking into my room where I lay on the bed smoking when I used to smoke. It was winter. I turned the heater on the high setting and it blew red dark air along the wall toward the window where the wind whistled and rattled the sashes and the streetlight through the rolled glass panes passed through the bubbles in the glass. In the night when I would fall asleep at last he would rise in the dark and his legs as you can see in the picture on the river were like tall reflections in the water and he would slowly revolve and then without any reason or warning fall over. He would fall just like that and without any buckling, like a tree falls, and his shoulder would hit my chest almost in the center and knock the breath out of my not-yet-hole-ridden lungs and quite naturally wake me from my sleep.


I hear the wind. I have been thinking about hearing it. It answers more questions than it raises. It’s been so long that the spaces seem too big. If you move slowly each toad, tiny or fat, will leap out of your way, was what I asked for. Departures calculate immortal longings, tinged with the autumnal melancholy of impossibility. My dog’s jaw’s bolus just ruptured again and drained along his chest. I washed it from a lettuce clamshell. The meat is still resting. Think of what runs down a runnel. Look behind the pages of a magazine, the grass chases him down the hill and the knife gets picked up. There has been a death in the family. Slush hisses over the curbs and it should have been another limo, he said, not an LTD. I got the call; the quarters rolled underbed like a dog in a clover with shit tangled in its middle. Not a single better boy hybrid pellet came up from the entire pack, packed for this year, and so I wrote for my replacements. Sometimes, while I am sitting here writing, and my dog is lying on the Persian rug beside me, and we are listening, hearing the wind, the entire muscle of his body pounds the floor from his brain on down, humh. But in the morning, weeping is just wind. No one knows it.

Theodore Worozbyt's poetry collections are The Dauber Wings (Dream Horse Press, 2006), winner of the American Poetry Journal Book Prize; Letters of Transit, winner of the 2007 Juniper Prize and published by UMass Press; and Smaller Than Death, winner of the 2015 Knut House Press Award. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Po&sie and The Southern Review.

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