after Frank Close

Our muscular strength . . . / Tension’s sphere of influence/ which is called a / field

Even in legend the Minotaur, a prince, is reduced to race. Who knows his name?

I bet someone once wandered his maze and saw him touch his body

in a private effort to, finally, understand. While I lecture with manuscripts

of flayed cow skin, one student asks “can books have stretch marks, really?”

The things I don’t say but are mine to tell pull like leather off my tongue.

The in-utero calf that became vellum I let them rub across their cheeks

and keep to myself the humid manure, scent of meadow grass, cracked

brand wounds on the herd gathered in a fence corner maybe for warmth,

maybe to hide. I watched them across Heidt Road from the porch

I grew up on. Some mornings I lowed. I wanted to be brave. I wanted

to climb the barb wire and approach with a pear for the most scarred bull.

I would have traced a finger along its seams, it a Bible, each cicatrix a psalm.

to vibrate between / its fixed ends, the string must tune / with a harmonic /gap

So with the tugging of meat from meat, of a planet through loops by gravity,

Earth’s jade auroras a book describes as “bristled” as if it a whale’s mouth

and us swallowed, every one. Of drowning I fear I am no longer afraid.

That, or I fool myself. What is not sacred? What if I meant “scared”?

As in when a lunellum with its crescent blade scrapes at a calfskin

taut upon the rack or when in the feed store a hand touched my back,

someone hissed “cute hair, fag,” and I pictured catgut. Fiddles, violins.

that there is a kind / of tension existing in /otherwise ‘empty’ / space

Outside the cycle of winter coats and shedding, a calf surrenders

to striae and growth, its skin steam rising on a cold morning, no sun,

just an itch to drag its flank across a fallen fence post. That’s our body

drying out again. How wasp nests and piss when muddled form an ink.

That cow pie mushrooms only grow humid summers but it was winter

when we burnt the shit in a pit for warmth. Now I light the gas stove

in welcome of a freeze. Because my skin is clammy. Because when I cross

bridges my arm hairs stand all end. Flying, every dip of the plane becomes

my bones given in to nothingness, to thrust and molecules. I think of

calf eyes, think of drag and lift. Think how a crash site is just another field.

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