Glacier

Because there are many ways to lose yourself:
with a blue heart gushing into the ocean,
or sighing like a city that has tired of standing.
With popsicle breath, like a child in summer.
To make shattering skyscrapers of your guts
and sailboats of your bones. The tides shiatsu
what is left. Seals will slide into your body
along with schools of fish, one day a whale,
its song echoing in the caverns where you were,
its body so tiny you would cup it in your hand,
whisper unkeepable promises like a father.

 

Starlight

You ask what could be lit by a luster like milk?
The effortless smoke of sleep, every pine needle,
primrose, and blade of bluegrass in a clearing
on a moonless night.

Imitators: you would have your cities be galaxies
with a trillion streetlamps leaking light the color of dead skin
that sucks up other light, that flummoxes birds.
I know I am sentimental. I have spent my life
traveling and remembering. What is lost
in the blur of your streets and towers is light as time.

A billion years or more of cold—I have earned the right
to say this: I can make diamonds out of snow.
Be a hero, a crab, a bear. True north, infinity,
a lullaby. What can you do?
Stretch your tentacles into the prairie,
into the dark mouth of the sky
and throttle it.

 

Shale

They found my dark body underground,
stacked like pages telling a story of rain.

If they could read they’d know I was a lagoon.
Everything once flowed into me—the quicksilver

leaves of willow trees and gemstone necks
of dragonflies. Water the color of every sky,

and the traces and relics of passing beasts.
I gathered all this up in my silt, took it with me

into the ground where I lay thinking
as vinyl thinks—in music, in circles. The deep

was awash in memory, the sediment of all things.
Yet it was metal-veined as forgetfulness. Rose-

gold, the magma that would have made me
fine grained and foliated in time, a blank slate.

I was always moving and always still.
A tremor touched me from above. Ask Orpheus,

what songs best make stones dance? The pulse
of a thermoplastic polyurethane hose, a pump.

They sucked me out of my body and sold me to you.
Listen: if they can take me with a slurry of sand,

they will want you too. They will frack you
until you leach your oily soul.

 

Photo by D-Stanley

Geoffrey Heeren

GEOFFREY HEEREN is a poet, immigration lawyer, and law professor who lives in Chicago with his wife, daughter, and dog. His poetry has been published in the New Orleans Review, Bat City Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Latest posts by Geoffrey Heeren (see all)