Against Elegance


Brett Shaw


for Rekha


I’m realizing it’s hard to play without music

before me.       In bed, you ask me to tell you

my desires & my mind is an empty stave.      Who knew


silence was a glacier’s ache?

The ocean of unsaid

steady, surrounding    this new stage


lit, unrelenting

as the curtains break. Your eyes

deeper than the cratered air that stems


from my sternum—heavy       damp

breathless. We’re echoes now:

the gravity stalactites desire


filling the back of my mouth. What

waterthoughts I’d let harden. Wordless, we haul

the crater up till it’s mobile,


till it’s moon. Something to send nostalgic

into orbit. Tonight       we fill it with loss,

fashion myth for lockbox. Beneath which


our bodies reach so hard we feel it click.

The way frost first splits         across grass, white

as dying starfish. We extend               into sound.


Your jaw alight & ringing

overtone in my hand.

Elegance is the crown


molding I fastened my body to,

& here you are            asking to walk off-stage. Exist beyond

a spotlight’s sheen & whatever performance awaits.


Haven’t you fixed me

like a hinge

to open to my need.    Finally,


the frozen boy is

rushing: oh,     how I hope

we won’t drown.