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not quite

by James L. Auerbach

strangely, only two cracks
are audible. knees,
undoubtedly heaving
another's beast and knuckles,
limbering for their
overdue chore.

i encroach the dead in
a semi-crouch, you see. i
was taught from infancy no
deference was anointed
enough to demand more than
half your base or
all your crown.

only my joints speak, chirping
gossip about too many bloody
years of inherited
tonnage. i let no other inadequacies
past my lip's barricade.

can't bear the same brunt i used to. not quite.

side by side. for eternity, or
whatever span their witnesses
can repeat such devotionals. word
of mouth, frozen midgasp, the
content lost to absence.

their arrangement tilts two hats.
as philosopher, they're hyphens, sum
total origin to destination
expressed abruptly. as mathematician,
they're equal sign and cipher,
pointed right in variable
expressions. except for
their solution, of course.

and still none of us speak.
i'd argue my reasons are
no less obvious
than theirs.

can't summon the words to describe it like i used to. not quite.

arranging the scenery seems
a thankless task. they're not complaining
and i sure as hell decline. it's
too quiet here, a processed
loop of wingflaps and leaves
rustling, of the clang
of iron striking obstinate

but i can still smile
without alarm. i've found
satisfaction's not my megaphone.
more silt piled, momentary
molehills lost to
mountains of thought.

and i muse silently, about
the unfair advantage earthmover
operators possess, caged in
a loud metal beast stripping away
the mantle, exposing
dirty little surprises for
a living.

can't move heaven and earth like i used to. not quite.

look at 'em both, finally shut
'em up. over, hand
in hand, lockstep into the
void. i replay the
last moments, taunts and
shouts, sneers and giggles.
they got them, and what
you got? them.

again my knees protest and
i muse silently. the
last word? already forgotten.
fat lotta good forever did
either of you. i'm
over here and they're over.

implements hit the
ground, we hit the road without
further ado. enjoy your victory,
lovers. short-lived, short-lifed. and
the big stick's worn blisters
under my knuckles, blood
soaked into the grass, the moment
mated to nothing
with words.

can't knock 'em dead like i used to. not quite.


Posted on 07/04/2013
Copyright © 2020 James L. Auerbach

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Rob Littler on 07/06/13 at 05:10 PM

I like the motion of this to the payoff at each transition. Such wisdom to be gained from this piece, both in form and in message. This part especially resonates with me: "and i muse silently, about/the unfair advantage earthmover/ operators possess, caged in/a loud metal beast stripping away/ the mantle, exposing/dirty little surprises for/a living."

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 07/30/13 at 11:40 PM

Quite the sophisticated admission of guilt here, or completion of intent, as it were. I've never read a killer's mind quite like this before. My, my....

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