Volume 14: Excerpts from The Welter of Me & You

by Peter Schireson
(winner of the 2013 Coal Hill Review Chapbook Prize)

 

Flight Plan

Let’s speak to each other
in the language of paper airplanes,
bend our edges in to meet
and fold the quiet into shapes,

mold our wings according
to the soft geometry of handmade things.
Let’s use our time aloft to catch our breath
and clear the air before we yaw,

pamper back the creases in our rumpled craft
and fly some more.

 

Tonic

You said I sounded
like an actor in a poorly rehearsed play, so
I gave up speaking in favor of the Hindustani drone,

of music waving like seaweed, wrote songs
about the foothills in flower with tarweed and poppies,
about the threadbare hat I filched from a neighbor

and the wilted plant on my father’s desk.
My droning was tonic alongside your upness,
your downness, your whispery voice. You flexed

your fingers, turned in your shoulder, fastened us
together, a tune unfolding, one line coaxed
after another, silences framed to open out
and let the music breathe.

 

Parley

Do you hear wisps of sound?
It might be carpenter ants
in the beams or maybe we’re just
not getting enough sleep, not

getting enough air, judging
from the yawn-triggered yawns,
the nervous assemblies of words,
the way we’re folding sentences
into a conversation shaped
like an origami duck.

And while we’re chatting about how the moon
devises shorelines, do you notice the undertow
of kisses forming, notice we’re standing
this close, our hands curled up together
like a couple of cats?

 

XO

I’m far from you
and tired like wine gets
tired, and missing
the still of your mind
at work working out its
thought across the room.

I’m missing Summer
where you are, where
early morning smells
like the back of your neck,
missing our walking,
quiet, hands held warm
with the pleasure of our blood
just circulating.
______

Excerpts from Peter Schireson’s chapbook The Welter of Me and You. To purchase the chapbook please visit the Coal Hill Review chapbook catalog.