I want a terrace of bamboo. A stuttering harp. A garden fitted with a grotto and gimp hermit. I want to lose my last name in the crickets Coupling beneath my feet. I want the body’s burden, Four more angels to drag through the streets Of a city that finds the monkey sacred, the fool careful, The monk dumb. I want a painting of persimmons And a persimmon. I want the violence of my love To leave my sleep and my lover alone. I am dedicated To the same baffled heart I have always carried. The diamonds and mud of my mouth. The midsummer Lurching toward the late-summer heat that will kill The sage and tomato plants tanning on the veranda. I want the water and the leg my uncle lost coming from the well. If one body will hide another and call this hiding love, I want to always torture myself with another’s wet borders. An ankle clicking against an ankle. The wrists fettered. There was something I knew before this. Before my hands Tore at the ropes, snapped cedar poles and ripped the silk Of any tent I lay in. I want to know how the savage Wind loves the house it destroys. I want to know before I am both house and savage wind, before all of the tents In the city become tattered rags snagged in the hair Of our children and the red-headed trees. I am careful To want nothing that I cannot lose and be sad in the losing. A terrace made of rotting bamboo. A harp lost in its singing. My last name and the tomatoes falling from the vine. Woman, I want this plum heart. And the dying that makes us possible.
75 The Paris-American
Roger Reeves's poems have appeared in journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, and Tin House, among others. Kim Addonizio selected“Kletic of Walt Whitman” for the Best New Poets 2009 anthology. He was awarded a 2013 NEA Fellowship, Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2008, two Bread Loaf Scholarships, an Alberta H. Walker Scholarship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and two Cave Canem Fellowships. Recently, he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas and is currently an assistant professor of poetry at the University of Illinois, Chicago. His first book, King Me, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in October 2013.