Poetry / September 2010 (Issue 12)


From 'The Day the Sun Rolled Out of the Sky'

by Phill Provance

St. Petersburg Has Many Churches

St. Petersburg has many churches that no one prays in.
Their soft serve-swirl spires are ironic like that.
You and I ellipticizing the Savior on the Spilled Blood,
speaking of what to name our housecat
as we drag our fingers along the garden’s toy gates and walls—
that is also ironic.

If there is anything ironic about St. Petersburg
it’s that no one may hold its soft spires.
Or wouldn’t there be spilled blood and a toy cat praying in the gardens?
Or you and I ellipticizing our house name,
wouldn’t that also be a church?

When you look at a tree in a garden
it is clearer when you look at all the things that are not a tree;
when you sleep under a blanket
it is important to remember that it’s not the blanket that is warm
but the space between it and your skin.

I heard it is day for so long in St. Petersburg
that you forget that blankets are warm.
I also heard it’s so cold that when you piss
the stream freezes into a yellow arch.
The first statement is true;
the second is ironic.

The cat and I think talking about you in a house makes a gate ironic.
How else to explain the many names of spilled gardens?
If I had to forget about the day in warm blankets
I would do it by ellipticizing trees no one prays in.
I would drag my fingers in the toy blood on the walls
and piss on the church spires.


What I Said to Her Was Not a Lie

I was in love with a girl once
and told her there was a special part of the night for her.
I said it wasn’t the dinner part
or the sex part,
or the sleeping part;
it was the part when we both lay in the marigold lamplight,
feeling like how the desert must feel
when the wind slides its hand across it.
I said if I were a light bulb and she were a lampshade,
then at those times, I would turn inside out
and shine outside in.

Now there is no girl.
Well, there are many––which is just as well.
I don’t say, "There is a special part of the night for you,"
to anyone.
Sometimes, I lie in bed
and trace her face on the ceiling and walls
until my eyes feel like
two busted light bulbs.

I know that she is somewhere else
and that someone else is saying those things to her.
I hope he doesn’t say them quite so well
or that I continue to say them better.

--for Lena
 
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