Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

Before the Thaw

I mean it. I want to use words like "luminous" and hear the smoke
Jetting from your pursed lips. I want to feel the fabric in your
Quote as you start to topple into my shoulder. See?
It's not a question of learning. I know. I don't know how.

The other day I was walking through a thicket in my mind,
Bare-limbed trees slashing like sloppy brushstrokes
Through a watercolor sky. I was myself. And then I was
A bird. The distinction matters less than the pronoun, I

Thought, watching my feet crack one circle of ice after
Another on the walk to the bus stop. Beer bottles cluster
With the bones of summer. "They've been making whoopee
Again," my mother would say. Even though I'm not a witness,

The hemlock is still green and the outbuildings crumble redly.
It's thick in my head. When I push my way past the words
I don't need, some of them snap back to sting my cheek. Yes,
I said "quote." Is there a difference? Your lips are torn

At the edges. Sometimes I get the urge to bring back the dead
Skin with my teeth. It was like a set from a horror movie.
I'd slip into the outhouse in winter because it felt like sin.

I can feel the weight of your dreams through my jacket.
My shoulders ache from the flight. Once, I followed
The creek all the way to the tracks in the woods and searched
For something to own. By the time I pried the spike out

I was numb. I still have it somewhere. Can I kiss the spot
Below your ear? On the way home I'll lean my head against
The window for the chill. The night will smell like your hair.
Tags: autobiography, poetry
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