Detail of BRueghel's Landscape with the Fall of Icarus showing Icarus drowning

The Lamp

tonight when dark pours out of the bulb
the room turns in and exhales;

a candle snuffed still warm and smoky
we sharpen our breath by shadow.

does it make you nervous?
yeah, me.

tonight when dark pours out of the bulb
the room turns in and exhales;

a candle snuffed still warm and smoky
we sharpen our breath by shadow.

does it make you nervous?
yeah, me.

a serpentine shift across the bed
and you shed your skin next to mine

 

fallen in folds they stir beneath us
like time these bodies make body.

 
do you feel the quiet?
it’s you.

do you see the quiet?
nah, you.

listen to the way staggered faces
get shaped out of breath
get shaped by a birdsong

and this tongue that’s all nature

a cheek that’s only temporary;
balanced in my palm
run a finger down the jaw
slap the hide away

that’s what’s meant by

undoing once our eyes have settled.
see, by aquiline slips of light
the still reach of our arms
that feel a silhouette
spilling from our hands.

 

see, from our fingers.
it doesn’t matter what we spoke
if we laughed into our cups
pulling feathers from our teeth
it’s still flight that’s not blind.

 
we’re Icarus over a forest
while the wire’s cooled.
we’re skimming leaves
the glass can’t hold.

it’s all body in a mountain
and the boys are crying wax
at the moon like we know
how our tongues sex.

Please; pretend that it’s you and me
and we might find our bones sooner

buried at the bottom of a waveless
evening, wax and water, air and myth
point our fingers in soft jellies.

Please. until a snakeskin morning
sobers us with marrow rings of Saturn;

we can listen for the lamplight
and girls that are melting pips
in their hands once they make
out the sky drops.

we’re Daedalus building a maze
while the bodies shrink.
we’re plucking hairs
the room won’t cloak.

a pink as dark as it is wide
these hands our hands
watch my palm multiply by stars
that reach for us instead;
high on your knees

 

we pour the sun from mouth to mouth
and don’t burn our gums.
must be Māui falling out of sandals
and riding nan’s candle jaw
up to our eyes, instead.

 

see, they set into our cheeks.
let’s peel them into whispers
ones that fall in flakes
around us like the cirrus myth

of this body on body

careful for those tongues that melt
into a cocoon
into the wet heat of our chests

and we listen for the trees.

do you feel the quiet?
it’s you.

do you see the quiet?
nah, you.

bask in the darkness of our leathers
swooning by the slip of silver

 

a muscular star extends our light
and we’ll find this cold forgives us

 
does it make you nervous?
yeah, this.

unhook my jaw until the summer
where we lay bare of wind but song

tomorrow dark pours out of the bulb
we hang it from the melted branch.

 

 

Amber Esau likes to poet.