Paul Killebrew

Teach Me to Box

Just simmer down, silverware,
and stay in the icebox
like a good little salad.
Where do you think you're going,
elocution class? I used to admire
your poignant nose, your mouth
rippling up from your jaw
in a dipping crest that suggested
not merely disdain,
but a full and deep understanding
acquired over years of study
that led you to this moment
when you regretfully explain
precisely why you cannot love him.
Her hair was pulled back, black
with thick lines of light
shining off it in stripes
like sunlight off a record.
She held her cards in one hand
and my arm with the other.
"Stop," she said. "You don't know
what he's capable of."
Then she smeared across the floor
like Sunday by the sea. California
gossip, Connecticut cherrytree.
Bowls stacked in the kitchen
rumble back and forth,
the waiter's desperate eyes
skittering around like moths
as his winding hands flutter
into his mouth. It would give me
no end of pleasure
to leave your wardrobe forever.
Instead I walk through the night
in my thick painting and hat
waiting for someone in a life vest to come along,
tie me up, and set the egg timer for years.
The yellow man lay at the bottom of the stairs,
knocked out but breathing,
and I looked at you, clutching the banister
as feathers dropped sluggishly around you.
Could anything be done with us?
Was it always going to be this unmentionable proof
trailing after each moment like a wake?
I think our faces are completely determinate.
I fell into a category and came to rely on it
like shrubs skimming the interstate,
growing impossibly among fumes.
I just wanted the police to know,
their guns drawing open the shade
as light splatters across the bedroom
and wakes the bewildered orphan.




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