September 26: 90 Degrees and Rising*
Sallow afternoon of girls around the perimeter
Remember she preferred the silent playground incipient identities:
she preferred the lesser intercourses the classic picnic table framing her
resistance as social critique.
Remember she preferred offering, a body on hers, the middle age of women is
a prolonged disturbance.
A café at the blue hour. Soft inner arm. She preferred the tresses of a long reality.
There on the afternoon as a vista of all time passing. There in the ripening melon
awash in arms and fingers. Touch is fluid under such circumstances. The heat rising
from the open stove, a smell of leaves and tinder.
When a woman says her life is falling apart, and she will say it, listen: Fall is one
more time around the playground I ask her Are you sure? but why question it.
Disappearance is as natural as sleep taking the day inside out.
The threat of no longer becoming. She will say it’s been too long, yes, since he
desired anything. The aporia is unclear. What sweetness, really, to stand in the
afternoon heat creating something.
The farms turn out a full late harvest. Corn and squash and beans. The rows and
rows of tomatoes. Their colors their variation their candor. The threat of
unconscious transposition. The threat of diminished centrality even within the
small spectrum of one’s own understanding. Standing in the middle of a room with
windows framing the late September sky open to the self secured in its post.
Young girls break your heart the world scraping itself away.
The threat that the dimensions change by themselves.
Tomato basil soup. The long lavender bath. He jumps up but can not make contact
with the day. Define him by what he consumes.
The parts disassemble. Fear of dispersal is fear of continuity.
Break open the hot day deep in there is resistance. Cool creaks. A bag of plums.
Sweet cold water and birds.
Define the matrix by the parts of oneself being consumed. Walking into the kitchen
slowly, the arc of newly combed identity parting briefly. Her avatar. Her reserves.
Remember that she prefers the incongruity of her loneliness to her raptures. She
relishes her preference progeny is the nearest love that will never change the
resources we squander are a form of wisdom: remember the clouds in that exact
pattern distributing the late age of the young woman as a totem remember the sky
took you in when you had no idea what you wanted remember your own consumption
riddles. That red mark on the horizon calls calls calls you vixen.
Then outside the day goes. Claiming itself a late entry. That which is burning.
That which wakes (you) up in the night.
Caroline Crumpacker is a Gemini. She lives in so-called “mid-upstate New York” with her lovely daughter Colette. A bit further upstate, she runs The Millay Colony for the Arts, an artists’ residency program. She is a founding editor of Fence and Double Change as well as a contributing editor for Circumference. She is also the curator of the Bilingual Reading Series/World of Poetry at the Bowery Poetry Club. She is a poet and translator whose work has appeared in various magazines and in The Talisman Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Talisman, 2007); American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics (Wesleyan University Press, 2007); Not For Mothers Only (Fence Books, 2007); and Love Poems by Younger American Poets (Verse Press, 2004).