Back to Issue Six.

How to Talk



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.