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Maya Jewell Zeller: a poem

Bowl of Clocks and Stones

Friend E says you can have sex with the wind from a phone booth on a cliff, the ocean below

rattling the receiver, the waves repeating. Maintains you can say anything you want in a poem. It's true –

I've been writing all these breathy epistolaries, for lack of a better phrase. And it's true it's October, the month I repeat

like a wind in an open mouth: October, when my feet always go grass-wet. I repeat the eleven-year refrain, pretending

at a season, when really the ode crashes out for your voice, for whom half my words take shape, for whom I unwind

from dreams, walk out into these still deer-studded trees, scatter apple peels, pluck a stem of jewelled grapes. I read somewhere bare feet

on a woman make a man want to lie her down, so I keep my shoes on when you're in town. Friend K once confessed

how disappointing were her husband's attempts, like all men's, too warm, too hot, too there. She has to perform

all the magic. I think about being a man, how you must forget what it means to be deciduous. Today I peeled a hundred blue plums

remembering how good they tasted before my breasts came in, when a field was just a golden receptacle of wind. My children

bring me a yellow bowl of water, bottom full of clocks and stones, the bridle from a toy horse. There's an elusive spell there,

like the wind entering our bodies, filling our adult bones with the weight of nothingness. What's that, Friend E?

Hold on, October. Wait up, wind. I'm listening. But she says go back to you, my essential ghost, you're blowing away. Let it take off all

your leaves. Let me climb into your cold branches. Don't move. I remember exactly where the holds are, I remember them in my bird

hollows, and I have a place to perch, to wait for the breeze.

Maya Jewell Zeller is the author of three collections, most recently the interdisciplinary collaboration (with visual artist Carrie DeBacker) Alchemy For Cells & Other Beasts (Entre Rios Books, 2017). Maya teaches writing for Central Washington University and serves as Poetry Editor for Scablands Books. Find her on Twitter @MayaJZeller.

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