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Jake Syersak :: from These Ghosts/This Compost: An Aubadeclogue



_______________________________________


I must have fallen in love with a romanticized version of myself, like flesh
 
through a flower
 
tattoo.

 
__
 
 
Skull-Etcher,
 
when I looked in the mirror today, I was an eye adjusting to an old photo-ID card under
laminate.


a crush like feeling the sidewalk through the pink gum


of deep-fried shrimp


crushed into said sidewalk, in a landlocked town.

the moment I knew

a long walk wouldn’t help, that “horses fuck inside me.”


__
 
 
so  I threaded something like “feed me to the forest” through my voice, & I hurled it—
upward—at the sky—all sky—

—a caw unhinged from its crow. & in
 
a downward spiral
 
landed in my coat-pocket, where it re-stitched
 
into a warm handful of present tense, like the reassuring try of a hand on your shoulder
following a surgeon’s poor prognosis:

as one part ghost / one part compost: yield architecture of an “I”
 
no one can archive.
 
 
__
 
 
& what if life is just that: living against the rendezvous of “a landscape has endless false

endings”—?

you, yourself, you’re just another je est un autre,
 
Skull-Etcher,
 
a landslide’s lesson: convulsions of convolution: pulses, pulverized.
 
it’s not lost on me what thanks I owe this drain whistling the tub its newly-wrought body.
 
I want to be the lost thought of waste water.
 
I want to catalogue “there are so many little dyings” through earth, as caricature
 
—some face to raise the dead from.
 
 “it hardly matters which is death.” if hurt becomes the earth, at least we’re the holy

contractions of that.

 
__
 
 
tonight, I’ll watch a river gristle through a fjord
 
& think, a liquid’s slow rorschach
 
chews mystery through a water-riddled ear. it whispers “I.” in squill. quarry. squall. quill. scrawl.
an echo, likewise of skull.

exactly what you emerge as: my mosaic: my mesocosm: my likewise-echo: my Skull-Etcher.
 
Skull-Etcher,
 
I could say to you I don’t need you. but the echo of its diminishing returns would persist,
remain
 
the color of a forecast, returning, diminished.
 
exfoliated as a geode
 
—it’s true, a town may need a river to forgive the town, but out here, towns rain on rivers &
out here,

we are broken like the rain; not broken
 
like a bone.
 
where you are is where you remain: opposite of weather: weathered.
 
& you are not lightning, no;
 
you
 
are not lightning.

 
++         +         ++         +         ++         +         ++
 
Cricket-Skull,
 
of slime & bones you are,
& yet
 
just how those “oozy woods which wear”
will “see
 
into the life of
things” we’ll see—
 
+
 
—see that bird outside the window
lightly pecking at the
grass?—in the sunlight, he becomes
 
sugar
& the air around him
 
shimmers, like glazed ham
or salt-lick
 
as he sings his pretty hunger-songs.
 
+
 
later, a cat will puke up his skeleton,
eat grass, & bolt
 
down this hillside, having re-imagined
inside-out
 
what mouthwash
 
we outline
a stomach-ache with:
 
+
 
that push, that pull
 
across a wilderness
in which
 
the “I” cannot exist,
 
& yet, refuses
to resist.
 
 
Jake Syersak received his MFA from the University of Arizona and is currently a PhD Candidate in English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Yield Architecture (Burnside Review Books, 2018) and several chapbooks. His poems have appeared in Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, Verse Daily, Omniverse, and elsewhere. He edits Cloud Rodeo, co-edits the micro-press Radioactive Cloud, serves as a contributing editor for Letter Machine Editions, and co-curates the Yumfactory Reading Series in Athens, GA.


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