Monday Jun 24

WassonMichael JeffreyBasinger Michael Wasson is the author of This American Ghost (YesYes Books, forthcoming), winner of the Vinyl 45 Chapbook Prize. He is nimíipuu from the Nez Perce Reservation and lives abroad.

A Poem After An Eyelash Falls On A Piece of Paper

You approach this part of the dream
knowing that you may never wake up again
back to your life. You’ve made it this far
without a name but this is your body—
so never forget it. As the one gift you have
from your mother & father. A doorway
opens here. Like being devoured into the night-
crushed woods by the slow sound
of water moving & moving
just to survive. How a river flows on
from one bodied name to another
like a cemetery built for giants—& the starved
monsters I left inside your childhood.
Look, the worn handle is the hand you have
never once touched, severed from
a past decade—you approach as it begins
to open—I mean the fist—& leaves
fall around you like eyelashes. Feel its skin as
warm as the snowflakes
that once touched the closed & cracking
mouth of your one weeping brother. Now
never mind the wind wanting to enter
through you like a museum
of missing windows. With your eyes
now shut—don’t fear—you see it, darling
don’t you? This one body you’ve been
holding like the rooted tongue
lost in the throat. & desperate for
any way out—open it.


The Confession

& forgive me for I cannot stop           a glottal syllabled
in steel. & never mind     
the bullet. Let me
feel the tightening of
your tongue. Show me

how your mouth moves under            my hard-edged flesh.
Forgive me for this.                            For I am already behind

your teeth. They look just like mine. Polished
raw. & how does it feel?

That a single flicker of light
will torch the darkest parts
of our slow bodies?
I am                                                                 so close to locking this

throat. There’s breathing
& then there’s breathing.

Like a blown dark                   clearing                       to a sunrise
you should never forget. I think touch me.

                                                                        Hurry. Gag me to tear me
up please.        We are a perfect fit like
father. Like son.
I will sing what your own mother sang
holding you
the very first                time: a baby boy. Again.
In my bright arms. For the blood

in the fingernails.                                                                    The people

I’m so sorry to destroy here
in the room. For the beautiful
monster in our hands. For singing
héetewise: I love you

       for finally shattering                                       open before me.

photo by Jeffrey Basinger