Somewhere it’s winter, somewhere the flesh closes,
Too, in another womb; inside that womb
The luminous seed wakes; and we assume
It barren, drum the season, thumb our noses
At the bald lack that finds the lack of roses
Announcing nothing- where nothing can bloom
Until the deed is writ, and then it closes.
It’s June now. Far off from this place it’s winter:
You tell me that it stays, you never grieve
It, and what you can’t outrun, you enter.
In entering the barren what I leave
Is this womb, heart entrenched, a bloody splinter.
You told me that in Germany a child
Torn limb from limb awoke: before the sweat
Soaked the sheets he turned and looked at you-
Him dreaming of his death, dreaming of you,
A beautiful woman and your warm, wet
Places. But was your dreaming it that wild?
Another child in India had eight limbs.
But that one was the dream! You couldn’t shake it.
Mutant or human, it will never wake,
You told yourself; it’s not a her or him,
It’s not a demon given legs by dream,
And should it turn to me and scream, I’ll wake,
Turn towards the one I love, and only him.
What shall I do about this spinning top
But spin it? Lesser lovesick phantoms set
My feet on this path; but these are my feet,
The hair I’ve lost my hair that cannot crop
The younger’s head or warm it with the heat
This spinning may endow. Or will it? Drop
Anchor on the bonfire, let the blood I let.
The plug, like a light stick, becomes a flaming
Brand: in the You and Not You unliving fires
Devour the top, that Out of what it came
The labyrinth gives back the living fire
To us- of a ghost- a ghost’s right, still flaming.
The five and seven fix the weight to me
At fifty seven; the bell tolls in the bleachers
And I stand afraid, the ground beyond my reach;
And shuffling beneath me I cannot see
The thing laments its origins or touch
The superhuman- me, it says. Agree
The empty frame is empty- and part of me.
I found it in the jagged diction of
Your teeth. I knew the years of grinding softened
It back to form. I knew the body, yours, left
The blueprint: blood encrusted keys above
The island towers, where we saw the wave
Breaking the body . . . O phantom of the soft
Corpse, all renewing, teeth bared as if for love . . .
Winter Island, it’s always, never not, June.
The thing existing and the thing denied
Have commerce. Sealed, absolutely denied,
The third that lives through two speaks through the rain.
We crane the ears: nothing. The winter rain
And nether heat, unrelenting, defied
What it demanded: this unliving June.
Sometimes a rainbow greets us on the shore.
Cloth hung on the rainbow, cloth of birth or death,
Stands us up naked, interrogator:
Had we not wanted something more from earth,
Had nothing that we done demanded more?
Jonathan Simkins lives in Ybor City, Florida. He works as a psychiatric registered nurse. His first published poem appeared recently in Stepping Stones Magazine.