ISSUE SIXTEEN: Realmy Styles | next poem →

from Leafmold

F. Daniel Rzicznek

At all costs, distance arrives. Tell James Joyce the park closes at dusk. Little shard of jasper in the heart, working its way to the night’s rain-black surface, I am yours to command. Or maybe I’m the slide of plankton the child shatters by cranking the microscope too tightly down. Answer your heart with the world. At what point did it leave you, your heart? Fear is a raft sewn from smoke. An improvement. The channeling of vices. The vice in your head in the vise. Tricky. Another. No one has a key but you and I. Silence as foundation. As attic. This house, only you and I. Answer your world not with a deadbolt. Again? A voice deformed versus a formed voice. Some strange tick in a dead clock. The sound of rust forming sped up a thousand times and amplified. Distortion, a poetics of: the road is a song, the backbeat a plate of fried eggs every other morning until hitting the border. You are walking barefoot on badly pocked asphalt, a few lights in the distance. A sort of broken dust in the air, floating to the ground. Ha! Your feet are yellowed by it.

# # #

Label something frost and it is automatically cool. The dog opens one eye sleeping on the ancient armchair. A strawberry floating in a glass of tequila. They have all ways of settling debts. The walls are thin. The neighbor’s bass much too loud. Your period too heavy. My hangover too bright. How about a protein shake? Isthmus of a shaking arm: seizure or pleasure, thought or not. The casino peels out, spilling dust into the living room. I promise to vacuum tomorrow. Sustain versus delay versus foot-on-the-gas. Now the dog is stretched on the floor. The omnipotent cloud downloads a silver lynx into the poolhall bathroom downtown. Hunt water. Hug the curve. None of it works. No barrier for the community’s noise unless you eschew community. It can’t be done. Come back out of the water backwards. It can’t be done. Watch the dog shrink back to a puppy, its senses diminished. Can’t. Men move the ball between painted arcs on a waxed floor. Walleye and risk. Scaup and backbeat. Backstrap and the landscape it wandered. The armored truck driver hums along. The money he hauls hums along. It knows the score. It goes to work in the morning. It curls up next to you, kicks in its sleep, longs to be fed.

F. Daniel Rzicznek's collections and chapbooks of poetry include Nag Champa in the Rain, Vine River Hermitage, Divination Machine, Neck of the World, and Cloud Tablets. Individual poems have appeared in West Branch, Colorado Review, TYPO, Hotel Amerika, and Free Verse. Also coeditor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry, Rzicznek teaches writing at Bowling Green State University.

ISSUE SIXTEEN: Realmy Styles | next poem →

ISSUE Sixteen: Realmy Styles

Jessie Janeshek
   Watching Horror/Watching Harlow

Laura Filion
   Growing Out

Timothy Berrigan
   By Letting Rooms

Stepy Kamei
   A Wolf Stalks Amongst Her Sunflowers

Alejandro Escudé
   The Republic of WannaCry

F. Daniel Rzicznek
   from Leafmold

Josh Silver

Kimberly Prijatel
   assembly of god

Dawn Pink
   Cotton Morning

Amanda Tumminaro
   Evening Routine

Natalie Crick
   Ocean Voice