"The Truth Takes Lunch"

June 18, 2018

 

Jed Myers lives in Seattle. He is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press, forthcoming), and two chapbooks. Recent honors, aside from The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Prize, include the Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry and The Tishman Review’s Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize. Recent poems can be found in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, Southern Poetry Review, The Greensboro Review, Terrain.org, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Solstice, Canary, and elsewhere. He is Poetry Editor for the journal Bracken.

"The Truth Takes Lunch" was the winner of the 2017 Gearhart Poetry Prize, published in The Southeast Review Vol. 36.1

The Truth Takes Lunch

 

I’m the tide rising higher, acidified

shoals, young oyster shells decomposed.

 

And the odd legions of rain last week

off the sea that settled your dust,

 

and, yes, mine are the clear-cuts’

mudslides. I’m the buried road.

 

Try to keep me in line. I twist

like a river. I don’t follow your signs.

 

I’m old as the asteroids’ ice

in your blood. Young as a thought. I quote

 

Noah’s dove—out over the flood

between these edifices, a leaf,

 

or is it a shred of document tossed

aloft on the turbulence, it flickers

 

chaotically toward you, and you take it

as meant. A message I’ve sent. Well,

 

I do watch the poles melt. I wash

the drowned white bear’s bones. I swallow

 

the earth-burners’ plumes, and blow

the ten million prisoners’ whispers through

 

the trees where you take your lunch. Listen—

I give you the gunman’s leer

 

like another leaf, this one in the pond

of the lens of the dead man’s camera.

 

I am that membranous small egg of space

that holds the fallen apple’s seed

 

through the season of rot. And I’m the lace

of interstices in the soil—I sip

 

the brook’s trickle into the dark

to the roots of the lost man’s shade. I am

 

your thirst for one more gust off the river

before your device warns you you must

 

get to the elevator and press

on in your service. I’m your delay,

 

the extra seconds your eye’s on the blaze

the sun makes of the surface, the water

 

a starry display. The toddler’s face,

her chin milk-wet on a sleeveless shoulder.

 

And I’m the blades of afternoon light

that will slice the air of the hearing chamber.

 

Silent gavel out of the sky

like a meteor, I’ll rupture the idol

 

the lie in a register you can’t hear.

I’m the spring in the breast of the mountain

 

you’ll climb through the mud and gravel

to gather and sing, to drink

 

my cold clear mineral question

out of the core of the world. It could be

 

quick as a screech of brakes, or soon

as you step off on the wrong floor.

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