How Many Encounters

Anna Zumbahlen

Through what process of comparison should my attention fall on this heat
             over milk

                        turning over velvet
The man in the next room has a cough in his ribcage

Insufficient that you should simply experience this exchange as time
Unable or unwilling to consider me head-on and also from the head down

Against what I have interrogated and diminished
I want only the scaffold and not its application

Or how else will this movement modify my limbs
But the pressure and waste of you in your gesture

And the city very brightly laid in brick
My heels clip on the inlaid brick

A private insistence like some immovable lake
With a relationship to that summer, if a negative one            one of absence

Or something of cardamom
You are present and become altered

When it began to storm I leaned out of my window and so did the man across the courtyard
To flip the switch on a round fan facing inside                                     109 degrees, you remember

The light in my room was not on but he looked at me

I backed into that shadow behind the left window           We lingered
He turned off the fan         turned out his light

Always the impulse to favor one perspective
                                                       over another


Anna Zumbahlen is the editor-in-chief of Carve and a member of the poetry cohort in the creative writing PhD program at the University of Denver.