Noah Leventhal

SCROGGLINGS

 

I

All my little pieces
of control, all words
left to dangle like
forgotten, twisted
apples, abandoned
to snowy swirls, winter
time. Remembered,
they return to the wind—
swirling. It is cold again.

II

South, below the turnpike,
road relinquishes
acrid asphalt to dirt,
where houses lose
concrete and grow roots,
spotted with lazy lichen,
adhesive summer, not
soon forgotten. Wind
through trees cools
like directed breath
from puckered lips. Electric
lamps sizzle—coal beneath
the furnace, ashy fingers,
black dust, stick figures drawn
in the darkened patina.

III

I am here as a mirror.

I mirror you, you mirror, I
deceive the furl across
your wrinkled brow, watching,
waiting for you to bite
into the last sweet juice
of autumn leaves, gravity’s
push and pull between
January and December
like a tightrope walker
testing out the tautness
of the spring. She carries
flower petals (lilacs, lilies,
hyacinths, chrysanthemums)
and lets them fall with every
step. Summer breezes stir
the air, lift the petals’ mingled
scents. Words descend on
either side, one abyss
or the other.

I am here as a mirror.

IV

It is hot again. I sit
inside scribbling frenzied
notes, ink stained fingers
leaving streaks beside
my lips. My left hand
shakes, I grip it firmly
with my right and press
it hard against the desk.
Woodgrain swirls like
owl’s eyes stare me down;
still—as my twitching fingers
are not. Cold embraces cold
like heat repels heat. Imagine
the sunspots on my wrinkled
flesh. I am an old man
remembering.

V

And this is it, the last letter
I will ever write, and how
else should I begin than
at the beginning? My hair
parts to the right side now,
thinner, whiter, brittle
as old paper, rustling, no
longer tall, lush grass
but tattered pages. Sunlight
tans my memories, scans
them, downloads and copies
from either edge of the hourglass’
narrow. Sand gathers at the far
end, and it seems by distant
photographs that today is
the mirror of tomorrow. Today
I shall part my hair on the left,
touch my smooth skin and wait.
The word for beginning is the
same as end. Palindromes persist
without letters—all my little pieces
of control.
 


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