Two Poems by Brian Minturn


Across The Street

If he could live like a shoot of grass, the neighbor boy
would meet the wind and ripple—a quick

white flash—then settle back to a more subdued
mood of green. But he lives between leg-brace

and walker, stands on the front porch like a clockwork
soldier who understands the relation of desire

and energy. Every broken one of us will at some point
move like this, through the bruise of unrequited

love, or the hurt of some past injury. By sliding his left
foot forward before he slides the right, the neighbor

boy solves the puzzle of movement in the same way
that the wise resolve memory. He does not rely

on the violence of speed, but approaches the alter
of very destination inch-by-inch, like a pilgrim on his knees.

 

Wide Awake

As you sleep, bundled in that moon-blue
sheet, do you notice me
or the streetlight ripples in this window?
How the glass has never been a solid
thing, but a melted desert-face of dunes,
a warp to view our neighbor’s yard

through until sunlight jump-starts the day?
Wake up, and I will tell you how
gravity pulls the glass like taffy, how delicate
your chin looks in the strobe
of a silent TV, the way your smile hooks
like a comma as you dream, as demarcation

of you and me. We exchange such a strange
currency, trade love for want
and jealousy, when our governments
of bone collide, then lie here like two bivouacked
armies that cannot conquer, but signal
surrender to every general on the other side.

Brian Minturn