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  • Tyler Norris

Selections from Finding Freud 2


To My Brother I

I can see where you’re headed

from my position out on the bleachers,

the way the ball shifts from black

to white in its spinning rotation-

the way the boys fall behind

in your every sprinting step,

and you turn their cheeks to roses

the way the sun turns the seasons

in earnest,

but the field’s blowing a bitter wind

from where I’m sitting, the way you twist

ankles with the assistant coach during

practice drills, the way your skill improves,

the way he carries you on his shoulders

after every winning game.

Do you call him brother?

Banging steel resonates isolated

in a midnight gym as I add

five more pounds to a second set,

pressing repetitions into every

beading laceration of effort.

The shred muscle tissue

is like the gap between your sports,

and my artistic stage;

but I always read responsibility

like a script when I was around you,

and I find myself wondering

if there was ever a line about love

that I was meant to have spoken

into the audience of your little heart?

Sarah’s Triptych: Moon

He’s the river to her quiet evening,

two feet dipped in water,

little waves splashing along the docks

to a boy in a small cap, head turned to the sky

with eyes reflecting in the moon beams.

His boat bumps against the dock

to a beat, all the worn hymns

from his father’s memory come back to him

finishing the knot in his nylon rope.

His lantern’s lost its oil, the wind blows

as the candle’s smoke makes its shapes.

The home’s azure tonight, just

at the other end of the yard-

white panes, blackened inside.

Coming from that back door

her feet bend blades between the grass,

padded noises followed by wood in waterlog

as she takes her place beside him singing:

A boy is grown by rivers,

travl’ing day by day,

one day he’s sure to become a man-

look at the mile he’s made.

“My oil has always belonged to you”,

she says, filling his lantern. Her home’s

chimney puffs its choking puff

as she sees him into the boat,

sees off the dock, sees him travel further

down that winding river, and sees him traveling

to the end of that river

and back again.

Velvet Lady

Adolescence was the first thing they stole away,

but they fed me a different kind of youth-

something like a living anesthesia

that became the hallways of my new dorm house,

those sweating white walls

locking my eyes to the ceiling on nights

when my own stomach lulled me to sleep,

and the thought of luxury crawled to my bedside

like a child, and showed me the image of a woman:

money in the form of a velvet lady,

moving casually as she goes,

swaying her hips before Dante,

her dark hair sharp in the winter

that she carries along with her,

eyebrows cocked as if to say

I want you to look for me in the garden,

I want you to suck the venom from my veins.

She is here in the room with me

as I write these lines,

stroking the pen as I go, a presence that

fills the quiet space between my roommate and

the dollar dinners resting on the table

by the tail end of her nightgown,

her crimson voice whispering to the page,

seducing the poetry that gives her life.

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