on human measure, and monument

You spoke loudly, I felt quiet.  
my body filled with water. 
we found an agreeable shape to subsist inside of.  it came around.
Mythology returned to the river.  Time held us open like a gallery.
there were dead leaves in the hallway. we drank tea and watched my neighbor paint over his house. 
the showmanship on Main Street. Your mouth.  I could not follow anything else. for days in was like this.  we hardly ate. you were bad with names.
mood swinging between all or empty handed
nervous habits, torn paper napkin. 
my knees stiffened, beneath the table, between the shelves, behind the pew
you were drunk and asleep in the red armed chair
kept lovely by the blue light of nighttime’s television.
in our only resolve, we boiled water and stared at the ceiling.
we talked about the desert when we stayed in bed. should I have read into this?something desperate.  
I heard big dogs moving through the hallway.all night  
you said you dreamt of sleeping soundly. felt tired and pointless in public. our shape subsisted inside of an off white film. 
you cleared your throat of it. 
The only thing that remained still and same enough for counting were the shapes on the couch.
old cups of water,
small towers of books surrounded your bed.  I stepped lightly around what you were always rebuilding. Your beard grew in. 
The weather changed, closed its great mouth around a small town, made it smaller still. 
your posture at the gas station. my posture like a paragraph. I am unfolding myself in your bed like the story on the page.decorating myself with worthy detail, in an attempt to stay with you
with your cold paper hands and breakneck campaigning.
we burnt through a whole book of matches outside the old library
We pressed like water on glass.  This is what it felt like.How heavy it was 
A spider swallowing rainwater. 
I did not blink.my teeth did not fit into each other
in the evening’s rusted temperature, I tugged at your shirt
and kissed you the way that a season leaves the mountains.
These feelings seemed so monumental.
like singing to the country
that forsakes you for war, then takes you back in
and carries you home
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I can’t wait; I want to show you Arielle’s poem right away


The moment I met you

I wanted to build an instrument.

I wanted to learn a new language.

I wanted to replace my old camera lens.

Almost immediately, I ached with empathy

Felt for every person in every room you’ve ever walked out of

All the beds you left unmade

The final note of every song you’ve finished playing


Before I was born,

My mother’s hands were patient and strong

Always on her stomach

She held me there, like Atlas held the whole wide World.

Before I was born,

My mother wrote me letters.

Most were her daydreams and future plans

Only one was an apology in advance for all the pain I would feel

The blood I would lose,

Her worry for whatever else might escape me

Her letter did not mention my name.

My mother couldn’t have known then what my name would be

Because I hadn’t taken a breath or cried yet

Her letter did not mention your name either

Because I still hadn’t taken a breath, met you and cried yet


After I was born,

My father built our home here

Where the seasons change four times a year

And the weather will only ever compromise.

Perhaps my parents were preparing me for the feeling of you

Every time they made me return a book to the library

Look through a telescope

Or leave the bird’s nest alone

It’s a similar instinct that tells me now

If I touch you, you won’t come back


It’s every age of me

Every year of my lifetime

That struggles to love from a distance.

Not touching you when you are so close

Is like choosing silence over symphony

Or purposely sleeping in the window seat of an airplane

As it smooths over the valleys and mountains

I have only slept beside you twice,

But it felt less like sleep and much more like waiting

My mind was muttering math equations.

My spine was writing poems.

I can only sleep when it’s quiet and my eyes are closed

But I would open mine every minute or so

Just in case you were awake

Or just to be sure of you.


I am sure, as the summer has shown me

That water and music are respectively beautiful

But water muffles sound and warps wooden instruments

I am a pitcher of water

You are too full already for me to pour myself into.

I’ve seen what a flood can do to a happy village

How waves can steal castles from the shoreline

How time heals tree bark despite carved hearts and initials


I wonder if it’s obvious-

The way I’m groping the air that your shadow moves in

Attempting to trace your arms, to pin them down

Or to pick them up and keep.

You’re the shape of the doorway

That science and faith might finally share

You’re the notion of planets-

I know that they are there.

I know there are moons in the daytime

And the sun still at night

You are quiet and bright,

But you move in circles too far from my hands

I am stretching,

I am swallowing hard.


As both a poet and a person,

I believe in understatement

That some beauty is ruined when you put your mouth to it

This is why some people will never meet one another.

This is why things are lost in the fire.

This is why memory flickers in and out.

This is why I haven’t told you.

Arielle: orangecorralandbone.tumblr.com/