By Rich Ives


the shoe is outside the shoe is listening to the obstacles

a small glass tongue slivered out of the sand
speaks blood speaks sitting and turning in of limb

I’m not in charge of breaking
no bridge no stone stepping under

maybe you could do this forever maybe you could just do this

one of those dreams that wants to open
but offers only a wet doorknob

the man’s flannel genitals warm but not very functional

flying is merely falling against and rushing forward

shotgun straddling the carry basket of the man’s walker

the surface of a gaunt aging wave
stretched and nearly spilling

the toe is inside the toe and listening to what the shoe says

the direction of the toe is outside the toe and
everyone listening knows the foot has its own stool

small bird thoughts have been nesting there with symbolic straw

on the floor lies an obstacle in charge of discharge
the direction of the foot is one of those dreams

everyone missing is rushing forward
the man’s shell falls warm and wet like the doorknob

turn now enter and the wave breaks
intruder in a warm barrel steals the glass sliver

three intensities of dust and water
I must be confused

but the man did only one thing wrong
and it was big and it was wonderful

lift yourself up then it’s all footprints in the clouds

perhaps I am my own obstacle

Rich Ives is a winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander and the 2012 winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. His book of days, Tunneling to the Moon, is available from Silenced Press, a fiction chapbook, Sharpen, from Newer York Press and Light from a Small Brown Bird, a collection of poems, from Bitter Oleander Press. He is also the winner of the What Books Competition for Fiction and his story collection, The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking, has just been released.

© 2017