Daniel Scott Parker

*

THIS HOUSE USED TO BELONG TO SOMEONE ELSE

The day my heart caught fire
a saint arrived in the mail.

They’ve cut down the trees
in the park where we used to walk.

A scar is the trunk in this memory.
Meanwhile, my grandfather is dying

in his bedroom. I haven’t called him
in months. What’s wrong with me?

Each morning I wake to a room
strung full of struggling tongues.

You are the only one who knows
the words to me. Are the only things

I have left retreating? In the alley,
something is stolen inside the darkness.

I wonder what you think opacity means,
and how this keeps defining everything.

*

WHEN A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TIME HAD PASSED,
THE CLOWN IN THE TREES REMOVED HIS COSTUME,
REVEALING HIMSELF AS THE MOON

After the funeral we sat in the yard.
The orange tree growing out of the sun
gradually turned itself inside out. The air
was a sheet of industrial plastic. Lights
from passing pick-up trucks smeared
across the pines like iridescent dachshunds.
Gravel, the sound of everything
we could not carry. Inside,
the children grew gulfed in the shift of living
room blue while someone lobbed a joke
about bones. The memory of our names
passed between us like the ghost of a planet
consumed by the sun. We stayed
up all night, taking turns to guard
the boats keeling inside our chests.

*

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN IN THE WOODS

All night we carry the body of the giant
through the trees. Something inside us

breaks, and the room starts filling
with water. The refrigerator hums

with the drag of milk, the quiet of bones.
The giant’s mouth is cold and full of nails.

I try to construct a raft from the pieces
of exhausted light left strewn across

the floor. We are on the brink
of becoming the woods we are lost in.

I hold myself hostage and wait for you
to give in and save me. I am my only

collateral bargaining chip. But all the
endings are the same, the way a box is

a common expression of sentiment, a boat,
the punch line to a joke about drowning.

*

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