The Boiler

Weston Cutter

ONE FACE OF NUMEROLOGY

Never saying you’re sorry means falling
in love with the strange shapes mercy

takes and calling out what they appear
to be, look a bunny, look a set of head

phones, I woke up wondering how
many feathers I’ll ever need+for what is

my favorite phrase to push off the boat
I’m certain my head or life is, such

liquid, such pitch+tilt, such oar+splash,
some days the sky fills with wind, clouds

whipping past geometrically, as squiggles
or a broad camaraderie of gray+I’ve

never known what’s important, still don’t:
love or mercy, the reasons

I invent and cling to re why and how
what happens happens, whether

or not my flesh will continue to be
cloud enough to ease me through

this sky of living or if I need to be
come the bird I once dreamed I’d had

tattooed perching upon a tattoo of
an anchor, both on my bicep which

in the dream was huge, strong enough
to let me pull myself completely free

from the shape+countless confusions I keep
being forgiven for dream+guessing through—


MUSEUM OF TYCHO BRAHE

Infant with mouth open, halfhour
of tonguing air then wailing want, you
are the answer to a question you’ll never
understand I say, let her suck my nose+for
a moment I’m salve, satisfaction, then
no, more screams, later
at the ATM Ellen punches numbers
while I slide my hands into her backpockets
to touch realer money+my nose
to my knowledge has never
been solution to any thing other than
maybe the odd question we pose to the two
year old who along with where and when
to hold on vs let go of pee is learning
how the world is Legoed: what does daddy
smell with? what do daddy’s new glasses
rest on? tho I can’t imagine she’ll some
day ask on looking at old pictures why
I got new glasses her first year by
then knowing just because is one of living’s
most insistent choruses or because who
really gives a shit why the guy she’ll
likely never want to believe sees her as clearly
as he claims chose to change how
he sees or because it’s actually no
easy trick, guessing swap+value, how
you might replace a thing+what
with, one black-framed view for a
nother, baby’s cries for silence, blank
flesh given over to scrollwork reading Stacy
or Hamad or mom, some name you
can only say you can’t even begin
to say what or how much it means, how sweet
and easy it fits like a lock against the key
that is your often answerless tongue

IN ____NESS AND IN ____—

The minute the two-year old says I’m sick and sticks
her finger down her throat ushering back out
dinner, breakfast, she’d said this and this when asked
what hurt, pointing to the center of her back, the hem
of the skirt you’d purchased so she could learn
fabric’s grace as it uncloak+furls, that with work
it’s possible to rule against the gravity that pulls
dropped fork to plate, hands to one’s sides, puke
to floor you just washed or didn’t, actually, it only
feels that way, everything seems like something you’ve just
traced touch again/finally/again over sighing there, dog
with inconsolable need to feel needed, sheet
spread not-quite-smooth against bed you somehow
keep dreaming on, in, living feels more and more
like the venue and less the concert you’d once imagined
or feared it would, not anticipation then gnarly solos
+sing-along choruses then hoped-for encore but
instead days of empty chairs, weeks of good-enough acts
roughing out longing-shaped bags of melody made
in hope+foolishness, garages+basements till suddenly
someone strums a string of chords so spooky and austere
it can only be real as whatever’s giving your daughter
the fever she steams against yr neck as you whimper You
Are My Sunshine out of tune in such a small voice it’s
a miracle it fills the room in the house in the city
beneath the moon that is you assure her still there
those nights like tonight you can’t spot its glow and
her tiny hot lips on her window whispering it’s there
a sort of proof regarding truths you I Do-ed to
years back and have breathed so deeply since they’ve
gone law-like, elemental, holy as the song it feels as if
you’re remembering the first time you hear it.

__________________________

Weston Cutter is from Minnesota and is the author of All Black Everything and You’d Be a Stranger, Too.