today by Anton Frost

the park is empty,
paper lanterns hang between trees
lit with direct sun.

we carry our shoes and walk, trying to stay in the shade–
the grass is burning away
we want to last as long as we can.

the flies patrol the macadam,
humming through black mustaches,
each one playing its own Jew’s Harp.

in the sun,
a heat and a buzzing.

a fly lands on my wrist,
flashing black-green.
it wets its hands
then writes on me:

emptiness never closes.

on a table in the shade,
a candle glued crooked
by its own wax.

we sit down.  candles always seem to require
a lowering of everything

you pull your legs up, rest your chin
on your knees and watch the edge of the trees.

you look like a harp,
so i touch your knee
and say,

if you fell,
would your gold strings be harmed?

you laugh at me, shake your head
as if following the path of a panicked bird.

we watch the way the trees move,
both of us thinking,

the word for life
is not life.

i think it by taking my hand off your knee.
you think it by scratching your head,
strands flashing brown and gold.

in the vague holiness of the trees overhead,
a squirrel gnaws at acorns, drops the shells
over us.

we brace ourselves when it grows

the acorns are hard
and we are not made of words.

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