Potluck

 

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Two Poems by Eric Silver

 

My body is a bunker, or love in the time of air raid

 

This is where you hide out if the radiation rakes

the ground clean or strangers on the street reveal themselves

as the monsters we have always suspected

they were.

 

In the safe gut of ground and reinforced steel,

no one minds the unswept floor, the mismatched face.

When the bombs pass, when the fighting is over,

you can leave again. There is no use for defense

in the quiet, when there is all this pretty that survives.

You have loved before—breakable boys,

ribcages protruding like an atrocity.

They forget to eat most days and can fit

in tight spaces, which is to say they will survive

through apocalyptic famine.

 

I cannot help my stockpile,

my unwieldy bulk. I am constantly in preparation for the worst,

for what can only end in destruction and crumble. Tomorrow,

this body halo of fat will come in handy. Tomorrow, my weight

will hold the door closed from the incoming zombies,

instead of the worry of crushing you in sleep

tomorrow, instead of rank after three flights of stairs,    I am a spaceheater

                                                                                        in a powerless world.

 

I will rename myself safehouse // even in peacetime, you are welcome.



 

The Subject

 

I.

My girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend

texts her at work, letting her know

he’s writing a play about her. He says

there’s a first draft and everything

and I resist the urge to find him,

read the script without critiquing it,

and smash his forehead into

his refurbished antique mahogany desk

27 times to, you know, get started

on that everything. “NO ONE IS ALLOWED

TO WRITE ABOUT HER BUT ME,” I roar,

a Hulk who composes his own script.

                       Smash.                         28 times.

 

II.

What I Wrote About During My 16 Month Relationship

Instead Of The Girl I Was With At The Time

-       Jews

-       My body

-       Erie, Pennsylvania; the rust that collects in that larynx

-       a girl in high school with copper wire hair

-       how she never loved me back

-       my mom, sharpshooter

-       my dad, saloon-style doors

-       twin brother and I, mismatched socks paired out of cold feet

-       my body, again

-       how she complains about me not writing about her

-       the swift catch of ice on windshield

-       what I imagine playing a banjo would be like

-       whiskey and the dirt

 

III.

I always thought it would be the highest honor

if anyone ever thought to write about me.

I have spent so many ink stains and wrist cramps

demonstrating my adoration for what no one else would:

my widening stomach, the timber of my great-grandfather’s truck.

As if I deserved that treatment, broken down and reconstructed

with gold lacquering the cracks, an understanding that the work

is more beautiful when broken. I want to be read like a map,

chartered through, a topography of me to be explored. I stretch

in all cardinal directions, and a finger pushes my flesh.

There. I want to go there.

 

 

 

Eric Silver is a poet from New York City by way of the suburbs. He loves muffins, high tops, and pairing cardigans with anything. He is a terible speller.