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Michael Robins

Good News Will Come
for Noah Falck

Suppose out the window & reckon
not the swept fields nor them squirrels
dared & defying electricity, but a stupefied
lark of the sea. Suppose in its meadow

you’ve dove blue & I’ve yet to fall
or, another way, I’m the old complaint
ready to fetch a greenhorn in the bar,
its only customer. That isn’t dawn

chewing this middle curtain, stuttered
forth as though to hollow some egg
before cursing backwards, cutting short
her path to another shore. I’ve oft imagined

such archaic vernacular, the multitudes
out of myrrh like any string of horses
& their swimming. Suppose you believed
I’d picture a quarry merely to fix a lake

above the framework of a man. Well,
even for the life of my child I cannot stop
our cursive from drying, two fingers
vanished off a hand, then the next three

where once more the season emerges           
hammy, flaunts the loosened chain
clean into the air. That fissure opens
like a parlor trick, double, doubled twice

when filed in our eye, plainspoken light
beyond the low-lying gasp of the volunteer
who joins the fray & from pleasure,
need, out of momentum cedes the plains

wheeling onward. Now a tea towel,
now a cheek, now in the house a doctor
otherwise this long story long. I splash
water for the color we understood,

our thin, fainted footprints stacking up
each time you mention a yellow star,
oh how pyramids cross their arms whatever
& smear, cancelled, a slight stationary

torn at the fold. Instead of fold say plot
& where a thinker goes when you say
summer. Like the ordinary fireflies
we counted six seven eight & the dead

hid, stay hidden past midnight after we load
our pockets, return to fluid obedience           
over the shallow, self-medicating lawns,
their Adirondack chairs. The tourists

come & crowd a rectangle paddock
planted in a rectangle park. One of us
chomps clover, inches to the baby grand
&, apropos of nothing, aligns his wrists

before they buckle like gods. Thou art          
pitied, pitiful, despite its very sound
rarely the twain together. A promise
knots a sheet to the flowerbed & our father

shrinks to the size of a puddle, worried,
with no relief as if it were you or me
leaning outside the door, all nonchalance
booted for war. Suppose now a breeze

tips the contents of your glass, now
memory, predawn, & the search party
dissolves. For the love of the river
we’re bound, ferried, reciting often

how in the mouth of a drainpipe the cat
better tends her litter. Each echo here
resembles bone, a figment versus fragment
faraway & nigh, my sightedness dextrous

& sinister, darling & vinegar, nearly
sprung. By the light of a teenaged decade,
we take a breath, tuck it for the wallet
left beside a winter pond. Your tiny boat

sleeps crooked, its anchor scraped down
around the boy’s ankle. A month slips           
speechless, then surrenders a letter
addressed in your own scrawl. One

& one accumulate behind us like snow,
higher than a mind can stretch the grass
toward corners we call home. For my part
I’m afraid that sickness (happy rambler)

climbs again the step, from both its feet                                
wipes the world & rings the bell. The day
sails its pages &, turning in the rear seat,
looks but once. Tomorrow says soon,

please don’t go, swears I’ll be different
& love a little more. I’ve seen the wiring,
seen rain as much as anyone. It’s cold
& enough that these phantom pains

rise up the telephone pole for a branch,
out the branch & for a leaf. When I bend
you’re taller than I remember, than I
expected. We share the planet, a system

&, in its circling round the Milky Way,
there’s no effect, no thick purpose
between the residue & fire. O Reader,
O Master, what do we do but try our luck

upon meeting a stairwell like vertebrae
ill-fitted, beyond repair. Tip my hat
& déjà vu in two hundred thirty million
years, be it carried or be the  joyride

miraculous, yes, the cool spot of the moon
here passing the sun. Could’ve been us
swinging our might against the trees,
rather a narrow footing where the clouds

shrug with a density all their own. Evil
error in failing to imitate a calendar
pinned, my impulse to remove, sever,
withdraw from a tenure so antiseptically

massed (clobbered) & you’d be amazed too
what damage the single egg will wreak,
how much flesh a staple can pinch,
pop, swallow. The equivalent of a sigh

or a green sock missing in the machinery,
I quit late & walk the strand alone. We
skimmed the chapter baring sutures
& other methods. For what a body holds

no wonder we’re drawn where the wave
scuttles & wears, & washes the stones
‘til we say grains of sand. Supposing
spoilers & in the end everyone’s rightly

famished, limb in a sling & to our liking
those who gaze, them whose dull manner
locks over supper with a priest. Easy
faith & whatnot to assume a celebration,

that a rough translating of the empty sleeve
might resuscitate for a common prayer,
reward a spectator like me. A month
slips speechless, repeatedly, then slams

back on her hinge for good. To avoid
what I’ve flopped while sweating this girl
well, gee whiz, be the kind of friend
who’s quick to tender a bottle & agree

shit needs no reason. I was a quiet,
nominally adjusted tyke, nervous knees
knocking the table & the lesser loves
meowed at the bowl, greeted days

after days of sloppy drinking. Names,           
where it happened, survey of the ancients
& their occasions done. I’m a coward,
tremulous, because guess who’s here

& sudden, as if restored from a small burial
or nowhere weekend. Liquidy posture,
itching for the ocean & I a snail in tugging
your bandage clear. I cannot pretend 

we’ll make it outside of thought, a message  
thumbed by my kitchen bulb. I say lay
but suppose a lie that pines for you & me,
points of reference, pink slip & so on

when the shine over a sweet, Ohio sky
submits, more soundly our country
bedims & cries one out. To be, to a truth
translucent, what else of such craving

besides a cotton square from a stranger,
cockcrow charged & for the record
my child pleads tooth & nail: no more,
no, no more school. Nevertheless

I’ve dug, & into its deep bargain a room
obliquely, doused, towering, & snuck           
beneath a wallpaper some pumping thing
like foot traffic lost, the path muscled

& pitched, the bower upside down or bare,
shoulder to bare shoulder. Add to that
suppose for a yard all darkness melts
like clockwork, the proximity of a house

related to the stance of hydrants red 
& bonnets white, the ignition churning
two towns away. To the last penny,
February insists on figures like a corpse

wrapped in wet cloth, a crayon silhouette
blowing the avenue. I’ve my wee ear
& a whim reversing winter from where
I write you with a lug nut & tire iron,          

chawing straw, long past spooning
Amish honey before our hairline legs
almost curl into bed. Past the groundhog
where we found him or he finds us,

beginning with those how-do-you-dos
& floating in an outdoor pool. Reduced,
maybe some mornings we set forth
then mistake reflection more electric

than its source, the threshold crossed,
swerving (say yes) like a team of horses
shot loose & beyond. Then a wind chime,
then laughter, then out from hollows

your pattern for lucky weather. I whip
my jangle as though wild & split umbrellas    
abound, our skin yet damp, hovering
lists of propositions, the a e l in Michael

& a speck of our father whistling us back
where frost now hikes the dunes. Yesterday
relieves the gull for a sparrow, regards
her host hunched over the table, this table                

before, at last, taking leave. The hours
commence in gloaming, drop their shirts
& gallop the ebbing tide. They gather
driftwood & shells, negotiate the slow,

certain flame that collapses every starburst
like ash. Despite such fevers, suppose
you’ve welcomed my fondness for water
& into the future our various charms

form a fine collection. The offing says
melody slackens, even in luminosity
& ink, its what’s what bidding farewells,
goodbye, yet the stream tells me otherwise.

Michael Robins is the author of four collections of poetry, including In Memory of Brilliance & Value (2015) and People You May Know (2020), both from Saturnalia Books. He lives in the Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago.

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