August 4th, 2014

Alec Hershman, author of our poem of the week, lives in St. Louis where he teaches at The Stevens Institute of Business and Arts. More of his work can be found in Volume 2, Issue 2 of burntdistrict.

By Alec Hershman

Tracing a molar with your tongue,
searching for an attitude of no distinction,
an ease of feeling some let be, the clouds break.
A bit of lift in the eyebrows then, stubborn
and arcane, twin segments of wood
like a fork in the fallen tree
in whose dark the beetles whittle
soil into byzantine chambers, the fresh gray
pearls of the pill bugs, surprised
at your surprise. Imagine the face
is a covert clock, replete
with sprockets, Swiss precision.
There is a ticking in the conversation
and none of the others knows where it comes from.
Is this what is meant by private?
You laugh with your teeth to make a noise
to swallow the noise. There is always a nerve
to bury or a fence to erect. Need a hand someone said –
but what would you do with a hand
that’s not already shaken?

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