The Manchester Review
Averill Curdy
Four Poems
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     Because the weather of old film is Northerly
You find me as if looking through a window
          Flawed in January. How ardent your breath,
     Pent, like the gray mares of the bareback queen,
          Restless in their freight-car shunted
               To the margins of a year early last
     Century, which opened with this minute
Of scandal and camphor, acid and shadow
          Embezzled from my death. I’m little now.
     The moon is old, the moon is a bald clown
          Peddling arthritic routines; there are nights
               When it is not too late, and something
     Original remains, still powerful enough
To hurt you. Mumbai, Naples, Chicago,
          Your wan vitreous midnights shut like lids
     On so many incubators in torched pavilions
          Of the Midway. Between the kootch show
               And a numerate horse, plugged-in coffers
     Performed before crowds, cow-eyed, as if
They witnessed reliquaries of blood liquefying.
          I balanced the world on my back, violent
     With chance and you called me Topsy; am I
          Only that slave to you, or else victim?
               I was uncontaminate, unprofane as those
     Aisles of babies saved in their paradisal heat.
No sound attends my fall. I fall and I keep
          Falling, a toy Ophelia. I repeat,
     What failure or end of yours am I the dream of?
          Before the electrodes’ skinny crown,
               Before the smoke anyone, alone,
     (I repeat) together, can watch boil
From my feet, there were your catarrhs, your
          Furtive, strangled unwrappings, vagrant lusts
     And irritations, everything (I repeat) my entrances
          Converted into one clean current of feeling:
               I was always that spark and apocalyptic