by J. A. Tyler
( how the rain fell when the rain fell )
He watches rare ducks traveling above him, sponged in grey. Wings, theirs, foaming in poison clouds. Two or three, four, in between all the time he is not thinking about them, birds or ducks, searching instead for the remnants of fall leaves on ground. He has a secret cache of envelopes and worthless stamps and he places one leaf in each, addresses them to the non-existent fractures in his body, return to the sun. Scramble over rocks that were buildings, lakes of glass that were water and now windows, slicks of oil. His eyes mold yellow, his carbon bones, the change of worlds orbiting him. The heat here burning even in grey veils, the ducks raging into flames and explosions, gasoline lungs bursting. He wishes on them as shooting stars, comets behind which nothing is. Gas fire trajectories. A boy collecting leaves at the bottom of the world.
( the palms they held upward )
The river swells and they are in it, a boy and a girl, stuck into one another as the wetness grows. Their arms and legs paddles, their hands shaping waves, their grinding in diamond and sky blue. He rides a white horse to her. He rides the air. He says her name. He turns her fingers into skin, into bone, into a girl. Watch me be a lion. Watch me be a giraffe. I can be the frog prince. They are a real family again, a real boy and a real girl. This the poem that dribbles from their mouths. They spit and shimmer, boy and girl, soaked in each other. These the words as rivers swish and flood, ash to grey mud, soot to shapes.
( the changeling clouds )
She is on her back and looking through the holes of the ceiling, where the sun comes in and the clouds go by. When she screams at night this is where the sound goes. When she sings, the columns up and out. Laying un-relaxed but attempting, shapes on shapes. She searches for monkeys, trains, pinwheels. These are clouds, clouds going. This is grey. Finding grey. Eyes tinted around the sides yellow, growing piss-stained, hunting down an aura of childhood. These are clouds. This is a ceiling falling down on her. This is a dreamscape without end, rubble without structure, time. A girl no longer imagining. A girl no longer imagined. The clouds going.