Collin collapsed in January—dead before
his body hit the snow, concealing,
comforting itself in two hours of silence.
And then the word dead, the long sigh
of it, entered the world and I watched.
And I was seven. And I swam that summer.
The wind delivers speeches and rubs my
head for luck—; and that’s all there is: the wind
and the sun. They give me away: Sometimes
I say I love you without knowing what I mean.
—And while we’re at it, I did my best to keep
my mother from creating the world; to tempt
her out of her body (that’s all that should be
said about her.)
There are days I pledge myself to silence
out of necessity; to the ongoingness of
breath—to becoming something less
specific—removed that the rest of the world
might concretize: The windows are windows;
the river continues, and I don’t have to ask
anything. The birds turn their faces toward
me saying You’re not supposed to be here.
Likeness and Mercy
He asks what extinction must feel
like—Like smoke, I say; like
an indication, something signifying
the urgency of something else; like a rusted
highway sign, a loose tooth, heat lightning—
the sudden taste of epistemology in a mouth.
I tell him it must be terrible and sublime
like mapping the shape of eroded ground,
a constant meditation on the concept
of too late—the act of writing the word time.
And what responsibility, I add,
to be among and outlive another thing;
entrenched in the practice of consciousness
without the comfort of having the right word for it yet.
They don’t seem to mind, do they (the birds,
of course) carrying themselves endlessly
around, necessarily obdurate in every sense.
From a park bench I am included—a feature
of the landscape; an obstacle—everything
has a place to be: the leaves, with their browned
and curling edges, have never been burdened
by mistake; the cypress, the soil. And yes,
even my body, bending the wind, subtracting
light and heat from the world—or sometimes
on a basement floor after midnight, semi-motionless:
always this paucity of I understand, I know.
I watch bees that are not really bees lick the sweat
from my forearm and nothing is different. I place
one hand inside the other and nothing is different.
I am always only in proximity to the space
into which praying people pray: chronic
mathematics. Nothing has ever been more
comforting; nothing has ever been more terrifying.
Surely, there must be something to blame for this.
ADAM SCHELLE is a writer and student, born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. He is currently finishing a bachelor’s degree in English as well as a bachelor’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies. Adam has been described as a calculating poet, juxtaposing the capabilities and failures of language with abstract and often evasive content. He is preparing to apply to MFA poetry programs and has just completed his first manuscript.