"What's the world for you if you can't make it up the way you want."

-Jazz, Toni Morrison


Another Form of Winter, A Story the Leaves Tell When They Fall, and The Book of Moths

Another Form of Winter, A Story the Leaves Tell When They Fall, and The Book of Moths

Another Form of Winter

My lineage is from
a maple hunting photo—
a slab of mullet,
eyesight that sneers,
but otherwise knows little.

My wallet smaller
by an inch of beltline,

my hand
asleep in my pocket
        grows moon-haired dimes,

    and its prisoners
    glint briefly
    like snowmen
dispersing
    in the silver distance.

“Existence is hard,”
a friend tells me,
    “especially
        for what isn’t sentient.”

Marked by the same day
that passes more than twice,
    and already disintegrated
to skulls of pollen
    and butterfly gold,

I send my mouth
into someone else’s bed
and collect the light
ripped apart
by the cries
    of her sleep-sharpened sleep dolls.

Longer than a wolf’s fatal night sky
where winter never ends,
my survival
is the only way
        to heal
    the light
that doesn’t need to heal

 

 

A Story the Leaves Tell When They Fall

After the autumn beings
drift into the forest
where sounds eat each other,

remember not to look at the trees.

(The trees are just the moments
when you shivered
the deepest.)

Hide your voice’s fjords.

Learn the hopelessness
of your past when it means no harm.

That’s all. 

You will have memorized where to go
when everything you see grows old.

 

 

The Book of Moths

The woman I know writes to me in rain because it is the last language.

The woman I know combs the wigs from her lampshade,
cradles them in the rooms of lilacs.

The woman I know is a blackout blowing through the orchard:
She begins with a boy painted on the cavern walls.

The woman I know happens between hair shaken out of the bedsheets.

First she is the silence of daybreak leaving the room
and then a cigarette that's burned down
to a fossil of her hard breath.

Almonds huddle in the cold of her back.

The woman I know uses a Q-tip to remove the songs from her head.

She is the only deer moving on the parkway past groves of empty restrooms.

The woman I know shows up as a heat wave between the town's random camellias.

Her bed seems shallow when she closes her eyes.

A man who lives past the sleep border
heals her of the whispers freezing in her blanket.

The woman I know keeps waking up as flesh that doesn't belong to her.

If you want to unbutton her prayers,

If you want her to strip down to her missionary instructions,

If you want to nest with the woman I know,

Start counting backwards in the books gutted by her eyelashes,
her slow and unforgivable moths.

Start counting backwards in the Book of Moths.


Rob Cook lives in New York City’s East Village. He is the author of six collections. His recently re-released Last Window in the Punk Hotel was a Julie Suk Award finalist. Twitter: @rainmountpress

Cover photo by erin walker on Unsplash

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