Until just now I had forgotten
the name of the boraginaceous flower
that turns always to the sun
twining up a neighbor’s green stem
We pull to the warmth of coins left in the car,
the shine of newly buffed skin.
When I struggled with Algebra
Mr. Palmer suggested I tell people,
This isn’t in my nature, and offered
that maybe I’d turn out to have the faculty
for theoretical math. Alas, he fixed on the stars
and delighted at miracles.
But I knew it was the glint of the weightless hairs
on Thayer’s crossed thigh, invisible
until a sunbeam glanced in the window
that would stock my toolbox
and Debbie’s thrown back shoulders
and the sheen of her black mane flowing over them,
the geometry of the hardball field,
the bump and grind of carnival rides in Rockford Park
through the open windows of May,
the prickly wit of new foliage.
Anything but X and Y shoved next to numbers
to make problems,
their cardinal sleights.
Then, there are the night-bloomers
doing the mambo and the cha-cha-cha
while the children sleep; we who’ve resisted waking
all our lives, but once aroused
want to draw everything out
‘til the sun starts to crown.
“Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends…”
-Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Here is the moss the rolling stone never gathered
until it planted itself by the streambed
and began to grow its gaming table coat,
and there the bite the barking dog
will not inflict until the razor-backed lunge
and spray of saliva.
Listen to the heartbeat
that is one away from catastrophe
or from the freshet that pours up past the ribs
in a moment of peril, of embarkation.
If these exhibits seem more than a tittle outré,
you’re probably half right or would be
half the time. All of them should be familiar
to everyone who’s ever hidden in a trunk
or crossed a stile onto another’s land
and the last thing you want to see
is the reel of your life run backward
because this dimension is no more a circle
than an ushered walk down a hushed aisle
to the best and only seat left.
David P. Kozinski’s manuscript, I Hear It the Way I Want It to Be, was a finalist for the Inlandia Institute’s 2020 Hillary Gravendyke Prize and is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. He received an Established Professional Poetry Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts. Publications include Tripping Over Memorial Day (Kelsay Books) and his chapbook, Loopholes (Broadkill Press) which received the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize. He was named Mentor of the Year by Expressive Path, which fosters arts participation for underserved youth. In 2020 he became the resident poet at the Rockwood Park and Museum in Wilmington, Delaware.