08-30-2011

 

Daniel Khalastchi

 

The Maturation Of Man:
 


Because     rain.  Because  hard.  Because
pain   in my     ribs,  because     buckle and
wait.  Because      cramping.  Because  
kneeling    low. Because pause.  Because
fact.  Because    wings        unreel       the  flat 
spread of  my  stomach.  Because     feathers.  Because 
damp.  Because red,                white, 
because loose the skin      falls to all-     pile my 
shoes.    Because shirt.  Because   torn.  Because 
buttons un-      done,  because    chest a pale
fire.  Because     calm.  Because     thinking
through.   Because    steady.    Because focused.  Because 
bones                     straighten,       retract     in a
fold.  Because      movement.  Because   pushing
out.  Because stretch,    because reach,       because weak  
the growth  spreads like         sick sheets      on a   line.  Because    
quiet.  Because    broken    down.   Because   phone
calls,              mothers,    because      children  scream
softly they         still want  to     touch me.     Because    
sirens.    Because      cameras and  tanks.   Because there
is      no  choice but       to head     for  the  hills.     Because
terror.  Because      running     scared.   Because     breathe,   because
breathe,   because spasms,            beats.        Because    from a bench I
step    to the air—      watch      as  my                 city 
folds           down    to a circle.

 


Audible Retraction:
 


In the hayloft of a neighbor’s

barn,        I am         just   a      

torso.  Propped up against the

bailing doors, I stare at four

limbs laid out before me: a

child’s  arm,  the  leg  of  a  

rabbit,  two twitching fins in

varying                 stages of         

decay.  Although I’m unsure, 

a letter I find indicates they’ll

work if I can somehow get

them attached.       Leaning

forward,  I  throw  back  my

weight in an attempt to lessen

the blow.       Using only my

pectorals and chin, I rock my

way   across   the   plywood  

floor.  Splinters in my chest

sledge to              keep me    

awake.  Throughout the day,  

I hear horses below nicker

while  they’re  watered  and  

fed.      By nightfall,    I’ve  

covered  what  I  assume  is

eleven yards.  This close, I  

see now the limbs are fitted

with  color-coded      thread 

bolts.  I’ll sleep here.  In the

morning I’ll call for help and

when no one answers I’ll  

hold  with  my  mouth stale

flesh in my teeth and screw in

whatever’s in reach. 
 


Went We.  Inside.  My Colon A Tree: (Diagnosis)
 


Went we.  Inside.  My       colon a tree.  Broom heavy with        light.  With    heavy cut   leaves left.  Standing               the spill of.  My levee.  My                leaving.  My find     young              ulcers.  Tall kicking              in.  Skirts.  Legs    white.   High      stockings stored.  Up   low were my.  Enzymes.  And you.       Curtained the.   Colon.  Red    salad    your.  Shoulder.  So long.  So   roll.  So     still we waited I.   Was dis-    eased  clean.  Under   my sternum.    Here        was the.  Mandarin.     Orange deep water breath     here.    Was  the steady fed.    Crate where they    saw through the    inside of    this.  Hot future to get    it.  Out.  Get it out.  Get.  It.  Out.  

Manoleria:

 


My  left  wrist  is  tied  to  a

bumper.  My right, to a horse

drinking water.  The car and 

the  animal  face  opposite

directions.      There are two

women with flags raised high

in the night.  The engine revs

and the horse is mounted by a

jockey.   Counting down from

ten,  the  girls  heavy  their

breath.  The  moon  is  hidden 

by lights from a city.   When

we start to pull away, even I

am excited.

 

-from Manoleria

BIO: Daniel Khalastchi is the author of Manoleria (Tupelo Press, 2011), and his poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in a variety of journals including MAKE Magazine; 1913: A Journal of Forms; jubilat; Forklift, Ohio; Court Green; Denver Quarterly; and iO: A Journal of New American Poetry. Daniel is a co-founder/editor of Rescue Press, and he currently lives in Iowa City where he is the Assistant Director of the University of Iowa’s Undergraduate Certificate in Writing Program.