Post Road Magazine #26

Freakishly Beautiful Head

Jeremy Voigt

I feel swollen and wild—bloated
as the pigeon body beheaded
in the bushes, ants on the ring

of neck, undone stitches no longer
holding the head. The air predator
still. Some breathing. A woman,

forty years my senior, told my
friend she thought I have a freakishly
beautiful head. That was two weeks

ago. I'm overdue, but can't cut
the fringes beginning to curl,
an attempt to honor the compliment

from a woman older than my mother
who has never said something so simple,
so specifically kind. Think of the glass

clink instead of words. Her tired
smokeless exhale. The rattle lie.
The stink of thick lullaby. The name

I found, a foreign word, the first
married name on the title page.
A lexical entry. A maternal entropy.

Always some turning away. My body's
ancestral unknowing. A fevered lung.
A feathered gut. I hate the shape of me,

standing before borrowed mirror, naked
before leaving this morning. No happy
genius in a red-rash of cells,

pink flumps of sag, no satellite of glee
to incite dance. To breathe is to grieve,
to loathe the self born from the forehead

of ignorance spiked with the shape
of words devoid of metrics or syntax.
The woman gave me segue back

to myself. Only a stranger's ability
to award status among the syllables.
I have not seen my mother in four

years, then last night, younger
than she is, she stood in my room
holding the red pigeon eyes in two

extended hands, iridescent feathers
along her mouth, silent. I walked
to my wife in the next room stacking lemons.

Out of Sorts

Jeremy Voigt

Of fate: something cast,
all luck and gamble, played
out by larger rules written

in four languages; also
an identity, nomenclature
of myself here and gone within

the veil of variety—the armed
essential portions shadowed
ranking, a division of body

parts, of thought-history, places
fallen from, sighs and touches
some tossed out, some returned.

And in relation to, despite
clear distance—listed always
in the same inventory line:

a cosmic unit, a situational
jumble bunched and bumping—
mercury hovering across

the desk to meld drop-to-drop
and splashed apart again
by the palm-slap of child's play.

You say you want to lie
in bed and read all day.
Life is short, apparently,

flip a coin, mourn it with glee,
praise the lack of, take joy
in the connect, the release of me.

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