I am leaving now, but it isn't your fault.
There are errands to run. My head
is spinning. A massive caterpillar
has captured my spine. What I mean is
I'm ill. Very contagious. The fact
that we've touched is cause for concern.
And where is the exit? The nearest
toilet? What if I told you
I was the bomb! Talk
to the hand. Talk to that handful
of gadflies by the dumplings. Tell them
about snorkeling in Belize.
Now really, I am late. There's a ball
in my honor. I'm accepting an award
on behalf of the moon.
Turned on by house
fires, the howl of sirens
too far off. We grow restless
in the soapy trance
of contentment: each
darkened match, the arc
of a swing. It slips in
between sound decisions,
and baby-proofed homes.
It shows up tipsy
when we are certain
it has split. Bolt the door.
Draw the curtains.
Forgive us our sins
we will never commit.
She bursts in with slashes
and swirls, tiny fingers
so furiously stained that I picture
the nubby remains
of crayons, her makeshift table
more chaotic than mine,
and I fear for her life, this little life
that must be persuaded
not to swallow glass, or dash
in front of trucks, though I admire
the plain intensity of her work,
each mark a crimson play
at permanence, a claim upon the page,
and so I ask her to explain
this bloody offering, to tell me
what it is we have made.
About Jared Harel
Jared Harel is the author of Go Because I Love You, forthcoming from Diode Editions (Spring, 2018). He's been awarded the 'Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize' from American Poetry Review, as well as the 'William Matthews Poetry Prize' from Asheville Poetry Review. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals as Tin House, The Threepenny Review, The Southern Review, Massachusetts Review and 32 Poems. His narrative long-poem, The Body Double, was published by Brooklyn Arts Press. Harel teaches writing at Nassau Community College, and lives with his wife and two kids in Queens, NY. www.jaredharel.com