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The Man Who Didn’t Understand His Heart

Sometimes he wondered if it wanted to leave his body,
sick of the same strand of ribs and circulating blue,
or perhaps not out of frustration, but instinctively
like a bat from its cave at night.
Other times, it seemed his heart was whispering
the word beautiful over and over.
In these moments, he was like his heart’s moon
at the strange limit of irregular orbit,
and he wondered if this time he might slip its gravity
and float off into emptiness.
But then someone would say something,
or a bird would add its dot to the ellipse
of them along a wire,
or the wind would snap at a flag, and he would feel the arc
of himself returning. Maybe love is never one thing,
he thought: a germination
grown too large to house, a hypnosis
the self performs without knowing if the future waits
in fugue state, pit enveloped by sweet flesh,
lush country beyond memory.


There’s a Boy Outside Made of Vibration

One can only imagine how he feels about the quarter moon

                                                glowing like a beak

above his silver Firebird

up on blocks. The most ornithological moonlight

                                    is somehow both perched and swooping.

He crushes the butt of his cigarette with the heel of his boot

before turning towards the porch lamp and exhaling

                        last lungfuls of smoke,

which curl from his mouth some ghostly peel.

There is a certain grace to the idea of circumstances beyond one’s control.

                                                            If you are careful

and lucky you will grow out of this belief

that everything, especially tomorrow, presses against you

like water as you travel down.

                                                This is what I want to tell him,

which is of course just a way of reminding myself.

                                    I know he is the one who wrote: wash me    

in the film that coats the back windshield of our hatchback.


But it is for no reason at all, or no reason I can name,

                                                I touch my forehead to the cold plane           

of the living room window, just for a moment

everything in precarious balance.


The Suboptimal Time Machine of Memory

I need to get a bell
for our cat,
so he doesn’t kill
any more birds.
My daughter requests
chicken nuggets
shaped like dinosaurs.
This task makes me
feel hypocritical,
but then I remember
my own bell
is simply invisible,
simply not a bell,
and everything is
the long grass
in which I wait

It’s almost summer,
so we’ve been talking
about going to the ocean.
This has been
a tough week for no reason
I can name.
The oven timer beeps,
and I think
about shirtless men
at the beach
who fondle
their own navels
as if expecting
such a sound,
as if expecting
to phase out,
Star Trek style.
Maybe they are
just thinking
of youth
like a burn
that won’t heal.

A bird lands
at the feeder,
head on a swivel.
My daughter wants
lemonade mixed
with sparkling water.
I remember again
years ago
when the cat opened
his mouth, a bird
flying into the house,
which for a bird must be
the worst part of the forest.
Again my wife assures me
I wasn’t there
when this happened.  


Jeffrey Morgan is the author of Crying Shame. His poems have recently appeared, or will soon, in BOAATCopper NickelThe Kenyon Review OnlinePoetry Northwest, and Ninth Letter, among others.