Travis Cebula

Recalling things that other people have desired

my Angel, can you believe
sailboats race from the hands
of children? they spray giggles
in the shape of pink sails
and fill the pool as the pool’s
fountain sprays water over
Luxembourg Gardens. this
is the center. and pigeons’ feet
scratch through white gravel,

an angry motion without bread.
this Sunday is nothing Seurat saw,
or I am a fool. gulls fly much too
quickly and toy boats sprout
antennas as well as the usual
sticks. a painting in motion, years
ago, allowed Hemingway to stroll
through. but he never seemed to
stay, even in winter. even if

given an excuse for brandy.
but I am not Hemingway,
Angel, and this is not winter. I
will sit in a green chair, watching
each palm tree sway in its own box.
if I return, tomorrow, the children
will have taken away their toys.
can you believe one day matters?
this Monday will be emptier.

Is it like this

                            up three floors
                                     the terraces
                               hum with honey-

                            bees on trumpet
                                     vines and sanguine

it was not

                                                                                           my window,
                                                                                                  Angel, dear.

I was not

(the sheen of dew ere the sun ascends over Haussman’s structure)

                                                    the Rue Buci.
                                              I plagiarized

                                           these flowers from the right
                                                    bank, these bees. you see,

                                                                         coat the whole city
                                                                                  in pollen, so
                                                                            no one

                                                                         will ever know
                                                                                  I’ve stolen, but you
                                                                            and your nose.

Exploring hands encounter no defence

we must accomplish some
                goals in life from a respectful
       distance. for instance,
on hot afternoons I eat

               by proxy. a middle-aged man who
                               rolls up his sleeves weaves
                      a smile for his wife across
               the table. across the street,

                        his roasted chicken, it proposes
                                        itself. delicious. but my salad
                               is too close. this edge of an egg,
                        thin mustard, ham. I could

               plunge my hands deep into
                               these green leaves. peel the skin
                      from a wedge of tomato. cool
               pink, though it would feel warmer

                                             than expected. a kiss just out
                                                             of reach. suspended. somehow
                                                    like birds, like birds live
                                             without ground. no hard world

to contend with. nothing but air
                to touch for days on end.
       except for rain. high up, near
the most fragile clouds, aircraft

                        come and go. in one plane or
                                        another plane, in the beaks of rooks upon
                        rooks, all black silhouettes and some—
                              I think—some are soaring home.

Travis Cebula currently resides with his wife and trusty dog in Colorado, where he founded Shadow Mountain Press in 2009. His poems, photographs, essays, and stories have appeared internationally in various print and on-line journals. He is the author of six chapbooks of poetry, including Blossoms from Nothing from E·Ratio, as well as four full-length collections. The most recent of which, One Year in a Paper Cinema, is forthcoming soon from BlazeVOX Books. In 2011, Western Michigan University and Charles University in Prague awarded him the Pavel Srut Fellowship for Poetry. In addition to his writing, publishing, and editing duties, he is a member of the permanent writing faculty at the Left Bank Writer's Retreat in Paris, France.
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