How to Talk
BY CALEB KAISER
I'd taste you below the skyline,
feel you flex your oak waist,
a fleshy summer spring.
"A stream was still and I
let my lips press against its face,
broke that wet glass and fell
when torrents burst like breath."
You said you couldn't dance.
I cupped your hips and showed you
how trees swayed. So we rocked,
soaked in June, rubbing like a forest.
"a bourbon-soaked man grinds
like a snake against sweet southern sand.
Says this is how it feels when God
wipes away the rough spots."
We hid beneath palm leaves
where waves could barely stroke
and our skin slapped a voodoo rhythm
that you taught me to sing to.
The sounds: shapeless howls,
the ghosts of speech, the sound
of prayers as heard by God.
"My daddy was a preacher with
scars in his eyes and his fingers
curled around the Lord's. He claimed
the devil stole his liver, but really
it was memories of his wife.
I watched him wither
hands full of the wrong skin."
One day, we'll find ourselves as sun-dried sparrows
fluttering in the snow, pinned together
as we turn to steam, as our bones
plant like cedars.
Caleb Kaiser is an 18-year-old poet and artist from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. He is a freshman at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His poems have recently appeared in Petrichor Machine and PANK, and (most notably) he takes flowers very seriously.