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Sport 35: Winter 2007

Alice Miller

page 46

Alice Miller

The third or fourth morning with you

Waking is eradicating,
coming up for air

in an expected world
where you are

where I remember
I left you.

I hear you breathe in cutting
condensation. I want to clear
the oxygen around

your mouth to look
at you crisp
showered and trying. The residual

season will clog
with air.

Who is this all for?

page 47


These days she plays
the piano like a weapon—
she'll say it's a burden,

this cumbersome instrument; she feels
like she carries it around
on her shoulders, the weight of wrong

notes, accidentals and pedalling.
On weekdays, he pores over papers
in the archives, and she'll hammer

at the keys till they gather
some coherence, an atonal
clamour of shining noise. He's grasping

at threads of past, their passing,
and she's trying
to create, to conceive

a newness—

but there's no polite way
to end this predicament:

last to the impasse

page 48

Allemande left

Open him up, open him up! But all there is
is body. His skin bleached
by holidays spent singing
in hospitals. Or days when he'd slide

through his slate offices. His breathing now
like folkdancing: Allemande left
your corners. Makes you think of a century
modeling a brown dress. And where to store

his familiar packaging; you're sorting through crisp
bends in elbows, knees. When morning begins
to pester the windows, you'll ask him anything
to gauge his head. Now he's no longer independent

of levels of liquid in machines. When his eyes clamp, you
recall his slicked lines, that glossed
swing of him; the way he might
lay you down over and over. For now

you're just the immensity
of bother; cutlery, notes of explanation, a running
through all our bloody organs. His sides
are gently splitting. Someone's flushing him out. Every bed

tiring of its own floor. Stern, digital
numbers, the results of footfall, the traffic sounding clogged
and snug in your head. His remnants of rote—meanings mislaid—
are the last to leave. His eyes slick as a ream. The pieces

wedged in there, resembling fractions.
And the tiny city, lapping at his heels.

page 49

Owhiro Bay

Drive to the coast to clear you out.

Car radio degrades
to deformed tones. At home
I'd tried

to locate the notes, but
I can't find a coda
for this

Besides, out here I can just watch the weather; it's like a sky and a half.