Robert Arthur Reeves • 3 poems

Train, Pueblo Land

The snow defers to the black bushes
but the sky has a thickness in its color.
Slopes and gullies fold upward into it,
grieved by eras of lost stone.
Then the choking little roads and driveways
spasmodically white, with here and there
taillights on crouched metal.
Beside me you work on your story—
one of the ways your head is a downward head this morning.
Inkmarks and cuts on your thumb look like each other.
The city starts to push into the window.
After sex last night, in that sleepy together sprawl,
I told you “This is the best part.”
You made a low smile sound, too drooped to disagree.
I know you thought I meant the best part of sex.
I meant the best part of my life.


The day becomes more than a gray crawling thing
smacked with the chimings of robins,
but less than the smug perch of sun in the wind.
Three days from now I go in for surgery
and all care will be taken to change my life to a sleep,
from which I might awaken to be a baby
lucky in diapers and spasms, politeness of strangers
and a basic machine in my haunch. Or not awaken
and become papers to sign, devices to run or halt:
one or another breed of nightmare
for both of us or you alone. I haven’t been worried,
I haven’t been anything much, but the week is here,
first weekday of the week, and thoughts do start to simmer.
I want nothing to alter, and everything will,
now, later. I want a kind of peace you haven’t known
in awhile to light on you, give you what mastery
you require. Or I want, in my staid bedridden floating,
to be your ark through the flood.  Any one of those
three wishes, all a little or terribly unlikely,
were it granted by the spirit of a lamp,
would let the day go by, and the next and the next,
in a mellow nap of hope and dread, till only
the thing to be consented to remains.


Humankind cannot bear very much reality.

Sooner or later you’ll have to deal with the octopus.
You’ll find it stuck to a chair in the hallway
or stuck to a wall of your room,
never in the same place twice,
and never anywhere for very long.

It’d be nice if you knew whether it was looking at you
but you can’t be sure.
All it does is change color,
and the colors never seem to mean the same thing.

There might be a briny smell in the vicinity
right before you see it.
There might be the sound of a suction cup coming loose
or being affixed: the sounds are similar.

The only thing left to talk about is yourself.
Will you want to cover your face?
Will you stick out your chin defiantly?
Will you make your apologies to everyone else in the room,
promise to do something at the first opportunity?

Finally, are you ready for it to disappear?
What will happen to your house, your life,
without the octopus in it?

(all 3 poems © Robert Arthur Reeves)

Robert Arthur Reeves was an Albuquerque poet who relocated in the middle of 2016 to Bremerton, WA. The website he shares with Sari Krosinsky is Outer Child Poetry. The next post will be an interview with him.

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