INSTRUCTIONS FOR HEAVY WEATHER
after a collaboration with Alice Burdick
You egg cup, you balloon animal,
shatter and burst, dilute without
fuss. Two celestial bodies nod
hello while a bucket of paint overflows
in the rain. Beach your testimony
for a tried-and-true myth. Fiddlehead
your hair for the ceremony? Not enough.
In the wet glow, ghost your misery.
Freeze the clutch inside the hi-hat’s cloud.
Anything can be a hat. Clean and dress
and meet me at the back of my head.
Remove the small sac from my nape,
the one I was saving for a hurricane,
along with the petrified fruit in the cellar.
Wild or cultivated are your choices for supper.
The speeches, the rice, the gaping
sky: a cavity to be closed with stray eyelashes.
Watch the porch light’s seizure, silver moths.
Wait for everything to stop.
SKIN TO FISH
Palm skims the length of a halved salmon,
hands cleaner than any glove. Plates
lumped with pods and shells,
cast-offs from faraway
life forms and twitching dinners.
Left behind, careful as code, false
eyelashes in a dish licked dry.
Belly slice, milky eye plucked
from its socket. What’s delicious
is arbitrary, taste of a dim
encounter. What’s forgotten:
umbrellas, slim friends
clustered in a bin. Tissue shed
from presents, bobby pins, blister
packs of birth control, headphones,
membranes, hair. The server sleepwalks
with a platter of jewel-toned tuna
and bay scallops. The chef’s hollow clap
between pieces, his bowl of water.
A plum sinking in Shochu stops
all speaking. A party where nobody comes
is a sad birthday, sparkler unlit,
kettle brimming. We missed
the parade, the concert, the busker,
the meteor shower. We prop it up
and tear it down and prop it up again.
Jaime Forsythe is the author of Sympathy Loophole (Mansfield Press, 2012). Her work has also appeared in The Puritan, The New Quarterly, Geist, This Magazine, and The Antigonish Review. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.