ISSUE THIRTEEN | FALL 2019
from Home Guard
What is to be done with events that have no place of their own in time?
— Bruno Schulz
There could be photographs of us growing old together,
strung out like magnolia on the laundry line. In one,
your hand folded into the pocket of your Dad’s old overalls.
In another, the older man with scars under his chest holds
his wife like wings. We know all the right words for each other.
You say girlhood and the pianos plinking out their bouquets.
I say glass roses and brick by brick the sunset coming down
like angels around us. Neon haloing the lids of the aspens.
O altar boy. O fairy queen. Some nights I wake to the sound
of someone with a knife carving my birth name into the trunk
of a dead tree. Say it. [ ]. Glass roses. Like angels folding
their wings. Bring the drummer boys back. The man’s soft,
possible hands. Light from his wedding band we have
mistaken for a door. A door we’ve mistaken for the world.
Even the world, even his mouth, [ ]. There’s no
such thing as neon yet and it backlights us. Why tell you
anything that happened? In a dream, my face is against
the fence, his rope, a blue noise. Everything I’ve prayed
for was something I wanted to remember. My good
face in the dirt. The handcuffs clicking like lanterns
into place. Like starlight. His blond nightstick. My white
nightgown. We are so indistinguishable from us. I clap
my hands. And the handcuffs coming apart. And the cops
bleeding their cop-blood. Someone is saying catch up.
Someone is saying come closer. Every fence unlaces its trellis
like a dress. Listen: it doesn’t matter when we are
if we would end the world for each other. What a carceral
brightness I christen. What an ancient song I follow.
Knows how the sound of metal knows its constellation.
Any day slackening across the sky’s stitch. A smoothed
skirt. Storms siren overhead. I’m running out of time.
When I was a boy, even the water knew my names.
Everywhere else, the body is just undone with dawns.
Here by dawn we’re done dying, gasping, a lock picked
and each weeping bone pulled into its noise. A throatfuck.
A tremor. It’s such an old story. Bridge: bridge: road:
fence: boy: bone: [ ]: dark. Almost-heaven’s a treeline
erased into a map. Minutehand, hourhand, crowbar on
gravel. Do you understand? Some days I forget myself
of angels. Catch up. When I was alive, I wanted to write
about anything but this. How we are only ever the weight
of what they bury us in, waiting like light to be found.
Across the sore blue particle board
of the rest stop bathroom an hour from Gulfport
someone scratched There are trans people here—
the time it takes to travel
from siren to fanfare—
their knifepoint, I think, your hand
on my leg, the smell of headlights
over water—any of our backs
unclenching in the honeysuckle
are little breaths, little glass
bells undone with sounding.
I lost I lost I lost something in these hills.
Any image begins
Our faces in the bathroom mirror mean only our faces.
Glass bottomed boats dragging shrapnel
like hands. There
are trans people here. Here: my hands
an archive of your belly laugh.
My breasts the history of
Our breath, being held.
& somewhere else, a boy
setting his right eye gently to his rifle’s sight.
A veil & a veil, being lifted.
Bradley Trumpfheller is the author of the chapbook Reconstructions (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2020) and the co-editor of Divedapper. They are from Virginia & Alabama.
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