Literary LEO 2013
Poetry — First
For Cheap Lunch or Headstones
BY KEN L. WALKER
Heading back down south, I confront a limestone wall while eating
a glazed donut and walking through the St. Michael Cemetery —
the Rues, the Brüder Heinzmann, der Schwestern Klosterman,
the aunts of my aunts. Not sure it matters you respond at all. Just don’t
walk between anything. Between, a walk alone. Alone,
the only thing that matters. Not sure that it matters I respond at all.
A response is fecal. These fecal things we’ve gotten ourselves into
decompose in the same amount of time as a small pond of city water
vanishes into fingerprint-proof. The amount of Paris in Voltaire’s a lie.
For him, watching a man die. Rhetoric, neutrality’s gown. I could
convince, youth still matters. Matter sticks
to the tunnel that connects each finger slid slowly
into the river’s surface. A banister appears to be playing the harp.
A harp splits the eye if betrayed, used to tune and refinish hers,
and now look at her scar — Phillipus. I don’t know what
I’m doing here — a five-point underground grid, mitre saw,
miniature clamp, a cherry chair split in half on three legs. The living room
is looking at our scars. Don’t sit there. I don’t know what. Here
knows. What doing is. “Rain sounds comforting,” you write. I’ve
done my best to not call you every day, to pretend
that a phone isn’t a crustacean, that it isn’t the quickest point
between two means, to pretend the promises I made your son
aren’t the same as promises I made myself. We mean
to harness no disguises, only locations. Only locations can reinterpret
invention as two film negatives lost in the trash, two locations
finally established but in a crumbling, dropped lack of light.