we open on night. the shadow
of a shadow. along the strip of cement,
breasted by sand, the oceanic hairline
of an oil barge. we follow the camera
back to the bench, where lovers
carve darkness with a joint. blood
-lit, we open on our mouths.
the camera pulls back. we open
on the moon, its fullness not enough
so i punch your feathered chest.
we open on smoke. no, we open
on a body in the silhouette of smoke.
we open on a fist, passing through.
maybe, from a holy angle, it forms
a fish head or heart. or no,
we open on a fist in the myth
of passing through.
synopsis for grief
after sam sax
In autumn, shadows darken fur
and shake the leaves, falling.
Even your cigarette
bruises to its point.
You say the girl cannot understand
a thing about suffering.
I am the girl, asleep, curled
feral beneath your bar stool.
Vietnam and some beer float by.
Your concept of life is full
of napalm-wet pink loti,
all the unbloomed children
who only opened for the swollen
mouth of morning.
Here, the soft afternoon
chain-smokes the West Side.
When she awakes,
the girl is not too good, but
mistakes the sawdust at your soles
for sand dunes.
Erin Stoodley is an undergraduate student at Stanford University. She has been recognized by such organizations as the Anthony Quinn Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, and the National YoungArts Foundation. Her poetry is published or is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Belleville Park Pages, and Euphony Journal, among others.