Published Monthly

View the rest of the poems from Peter Gutierrez in the November 2006 edition:

His Face a Rebuttal
by Peter Gutierrez

each stone in the park, granite slate feldspar
never stays put for long;
he watches from a distance,
at this bench the caretakers were kind enough
to fashion from leaves, from twigs that failed to bud,
from wind that had no place to go;
he is his own visitor
if he held a mirror up he could see himself
and sleep again;
fresh air, to his touch, always feels rough

chin on palm, he’s not thinking though:
he rests, neck bone as frail as a chicken’s,
it needs support
they should design canes for the head
that’s right, walking canes for the cranium
silver-tipped, for the way out, I’m told, involves

it may rain, or it may not, but below
he cares little, even when with wasted stealth
the clouds start to collect, perhaps in this instance
to finish the job;
weakling sun to whom fools always bow
is prone to slip and fade and tremor--
few know this who cannot abide rust
and creeping molds and learning
to keep open eyes that would sooner shut

cold cold park, his fondness for it is of the sort
that, nurtured, could bloom into disgust
here is where my skin belongs

yeah now, yeah, this is my kind of freedom:
to collect in wilderness
like wax, and smells of burning

did I mention that in his deafness
he can hear from quite afar
flying insects and their precious tiny hum?
that he can name the spot and tell us when
you in that small car bouncing over puddle and rut
looked from the window, trying hard to read
passing names and dates and their occupations before
they went?

it’s no surprise, then, when he wakes in
time to sense the wild
approach of a newcomer who wants to remove
a page from the past, something nasty that time wrote;
as she sidles up, stamens in hand, her hair undone
he recognizes her, his clotted pulse quickens
she’s downright beautiful for a descendent
the daughter of his daughter’s son

sit here, my dear please, sit sit sit

he has no heart, only a cavity for one
but when he sees her eyes are red
for him, he falls as hard as: stump hail nest
with his looks, or lack thereof
his inability to dance, his being kin
he puts the swelling out of mind, and all its songs,
returns to sleep, not to gristle and sweat-stained

he marvels: these upright slabs have grown
so fast… in another month (or perhaps now)
it will be time for a harvest
if the weather stays mild
and the souls warm through

later, a bird flies over fields of gravel

he remembers the visit, how his spirit leapt
hardens himself, scolds his hand for its wrong,
flippant as any dweller in mud:
another year, another chance to
the cradle

in truth he hates the passing that he did accept
howls to ground, to tree, with breath not his own:

hold the moment to my throat
if I move
then you can use it--

Peter Gutierrez is a longtime writer of nonfiction, comics, and other miscellaneous works. His work has appeared in Barnwood magazine and Apex Digest.


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