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Barcarolle| T.J. Smith

30 Aug

(Artwork by Carrion House)

 

 

                        Op. 10, No. 3

Soft and tremulous the current underneath

the unbroken surface      you can’t touch    the wind

It rises  from your boot-soles      it passes through

 

Your eyes        even when you close them

they open for the wind      it blows

A harsh blue light across the water

 

Soft and tremulous the current underneath

the pale green light       you can’t close your eyes

They sink into your boot-soles         the water

 

Moves like wind          it passes through

your lungs       it tastes of salt and tin

A ship of nails embarks            across the water

 

Inside your chest        it interrupts the current

The bark peels off a withered yew

Your fingers trace the wood beneath

Run across your perfect likeness

 

knotted curls of hair     sapwood face

your neck’s wooden slope       Drifting

lower       you don’t recognize yourself

by touch             the rippling waves

 

your ribs beneath a wooden skin     your hands

the hands of a stranger        your stomach’s curve

the hard protrusion of your hips

lower       a viscous sap      lower

 

A great gust rises from the earth      a tempest

dancing in the bone-hollows of your head picks up

The soft and tremulous current underneath

 

Your eyes       even from your boot-soles

they rise into the wind      they move

Like water through the hard tin night

 

A gust embarks across the earth    your eyes

the eyes of a stranger     drift higher and higher

underneath       the current        soft and tremulous

 

There      a window opens to a river

your grandmother waits in a room alone

an unbroken surface you can’t touch

 

A yew tree rustles on the shore      a ship

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

T.J. Smith is a poet and educator based in New York. Originally from Jacksonville, FL, he studied German and Creative Writing at Princeton, and he’s currently completing an MFA at NYU, where he’s also the Web Editor of Washington Square Review. Recently, his work has appeared in Stoneboat, Raven Chronicles, and Ilanot Review, among others. He can be reached at tjs490@nyu.edu.