Jen Struckman

EXTEND

His voice pours desire so absolute
my lips part, and drink intonations in.
I am like a silvered-moon
he wraps his fingers through,
and I was made to carry him.

He inebriates ardent sounds and channels wild winds,
and always
I am ensuing after him.

He stirs the newly awakened earth:
Light splashes across the sky;
I reach out, and suddenly I hold his magic
in my hand: I conjure the moon,
set the stars, and bring the rain
in one painful sigh. I’ll blow a kiss
and part the clouds;
my force with love is endless.
I belong to charmed-lidded eyes,
and I will move in the currents
I was made to follow: His.

I can breathe infinity
in one slow breath. I find completeness
in the colors I’m surrounded in:
I feel his tongue and taste his lips
in the way the staggering wind
resonates the world in which he lives.

The light dims. The stars drown
in the tides of his love. I am taken
down to lowery depths: I surface torn
and rebuilt, in a single breath.

********

I, MISPLACED

Night falls as softly as a broken promise.
With arms thrown around a turbulent horizon, I’m swept away
like a seafarer into the dark, oceanic clouds that encroach one’s vision.

I reach out, and sense the melancholy of footsteps retreating—
a melody misplaced in a ballad trying to find meaning. Your unknown song
is woven through dreams like an exquisite dark tapestry,

impossible to shake off; the coverlet of all
and forms within its fibers words so celestial
that within a single breath it can summon the rains or it can align the stars.

I have etched every detail of who you are into my mind,
yet I know you not, except how you are shadowing the world standing next to you.
The deceptive cadence plays again, as the sunlight streams through my bedroom window;

a place you are near, never.
I want to love you, but my heart says, misplaced—
My heart says, Wayfarer.

********

ENTOMBED BY MAN

Nature offers me her sorrows
and I gather them into my arms
like a field full of flowers. I once longed
to live and love, and forgot to find freedom
in the vireo’s song or a sunlit room.
I was falling into myself with nowhere to go

but lowery; the Hell of the Persians
is wasted not on the dead, but the living.
I did not deserve the sapid air
of spring, nor the sound of rain
against the windowpane; I became a moth,
hurling myself towards death in the shape of light.

I wept for the sky like a hungry Sumerian
looking for signs in the shapes of clouds
or in how the wheat answers capriciously
to the wind. I pushed away;
I took the path of the departed
and watched humanity crumble a waste.

I was a causeway to the pyramid
at Giza. A hundred-thousand men choked
on my dust and bones for years; I’ll not live
one minutia longer, nor suffer any less.
I’ve wandered into places so dark
that even Osiris took pity.

I am the descendent of infinite air. I was made
from surging tide: where Aphrodite’s form
transcended earth. Stand on the ledge,
where sea meets sand, now turn around
and gaze back into caustic abyss: the cavity of man.

Feel the anguish in the crashing of waves.
This is where life begins; this is where the world ends. Civilization strikes and unarms nature
with bitter cold shellac I lie in the folds of her silken hair: chest heaving, torn apart, and bleeding. Inside,

I am a breath caught in systemic air; Outside, I hear the universe screaming at the mortality of which they are formed, when even the stars are made more beautiful in their dying.

********

A TREE

A song bird collects itself
with feet coiled on a bough. Its sorrow
filled voice resonates
the sound the laurels make
moaning in the wind. I have longed to feel
the mountains tremble beneath my feet
or to hold the world
in one silver, streaked hand.
I have longed to bend in the breeze
and stretch from the throes of the earth.
But I will never be a tree: I do not know the song of the tree.
I only know what it means to stand alone,
to feel hollow, and how to press my cheek
against the stoic callousness of the unknown.

Jen Struckman is a senior majoring in English.

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