Eleanor S. Tipton
The Melody Of
The dead are up to many things. Singing
in this box. Strumming the satin sewn
in the oak. You cannot open this box
of small weight. What I mean is
you cannot grasp. The feeling of stone
bearing the moss. Your mouth
a perfect O. Someone is singing.
What song do you hear? Somewhere,
not here, never here. The dead are
repeating. The refrain of
constructing the earth. So many hands
[what I mean is] boxed up in dirt.
An oval bronze mirror reflects
a ring of blooming cherry trees
through a window, which means spring
means small scent. The blossoms
drip and drift and scatter from their ilk.
Time persists or blends into
the sunlight's progression in such a way
that thinking makes clear bright lines
appear between what is named
and what is without reference.
The branches rustle inaudibly
while the leaves edge into consciousness.
What a still image kept in the glass.
The window, like the eye, is a boundary
reflecting steam as it whets the land.
The world is an infant skyscraper.
I sit up all night with a family. We blather
about carbon dioxide. My bottom jaw clatters.
It's early, right before the sun.
Slowly, I notice their eyes pour table-salt
from their sockets. Their mouths open,
and light streams out
like a flashlight
held under water: filtered, gray.
A child in a blue pinafore
gallops past me
as if nothing is happening.
Nothing at all. I cannot touch her.
She is covered in grease.
Eleanor S. Tipton is a native Texan who currently lives in Washington, DC. She is an MFA candidate at George Mason University and the recipient of the Virginia Downs Poetry Award. Her poetry is forthcoming in Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing.
"I remember the front porch of my parent's house in east Texas at dusk: full of fireflies, green hills, and crickets."