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the somersault :: chase twichell

by on April 13, 2015

Just for the tarry smudge and hiss of sap
I struck a match in a mesh of twigs
the brook had thrust among the rocks.
Up in the big birches the smoke
thinned to a rippling intake of light
that was private, somehow, exclusive—
a fish visible a second in rough water,
jewels behind a limo’s tinted glass.
Something was making a meaning up there,
some kindling intelligence
that made me feel excluded from the future,
that my mind would stop and its continue,
so that I wanted to be made of its gist
instead of my own, which was gravid and dim.
It seemed to me that each leaf shook
and each spark flew toward some
immaculate abstraction and away from
the smoky prison of the human world.
I wanted to track that black compression
to the end of consciousness, to curve my spine
back into the somersault begun so long ago,
the C-shape that slipped from sexual water
onto the warm lawns of childhood,
a childish grace now poised in the mind
like a jackknife, a grace that ends
in the sparks all around us,
rising and vanishing, changed to ash flecks.

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