Theodore Worozbyt

Analysis Were Kindness

As though some profound force of repression were finally and collectively failing. As if I had forgotten I was ignoring the mango filament lodged between molar and incisor as I watched the movie starring monastic silence and slept, dreaming the long dead dash of the wharf rat along the kitchen floor, its slow rustle. As if your signature were a dictionary soaked in clover honey and the way your feet were painted meant every field of golden rye weren’t a season only. I stamp dancing in a vat of bees and stain my feet with pollen. If only analysis were kindness, then brilliant would mean never alone. Look at the stars, the Leonid shower, dry and cold here, but there, no, not by the Sound. We learn to behave as if revenants were not at a distance shouting. As though things were not more ordinary, each clock wasted if not broken in its watery glass. One grows tolerant of craving quiet. As if the trills of little envelope symbols in cell windows were not silencers, the vowels round as pills before their coming to the throat, first the note and then the not and no, the vowel rounds. And then the soily withdrawals. As though a potato didn’t fill my belly nor the fat make a pain in my side. Listen to the holiday whistling from the pulpit, what May means to apple pulp.

Albino Rhino

The map on his face doesn’t say the fourth of July, but has a patch of oath to it, a little rascal wallpaper reminder in the oatmeals of steel cut mornings, a smartness that even when photographed starving says something quizzical. In the distance I could see the sweaty fat man waving his arms in front of the factory’s ruins. If it were Roswell Falls I could have explained myself. I once crawled and crossed the river ice of a frozen yet forgotten Sunday, and discovered that the falls were made for the mill, and that the mill turned the wheel, and that the wheel made the power, and that the power moved the looms, and the looms wove the cloth, and the cloth made that cloud color, in confederation. But this was another river, wider, there were other clouds filled with black dogs. I said to myself, If only there were five box turtles in a row I could be sure. And before I turned around there they came, box turtles in a row if not a tower, figured bright with strokes of canary, and still I was not sure.

Dead Lift

I lay on my back and ground smooth the seams joined underneath by nets to mud dust. No, I stood and looked into the whiteness of the sky and scrubbed the clouds. No, it was a rhythm of static crawling into my arms as they sanded. I stood on a ladder and saw through a mask. That day finished in my lungs and left itself in my eyes as well as everyone’s. The black racing stripe along the walls was later, the crushed snake on the road you had to bring down a brick upon stayed sooner. Listen: all the invisible bones hang still across the shower rod, that bath stripped of its cream skin to show blue tiles beneath the fifties. It was the loveliest color I ever burned onto my hands in secret silence. And you found it, as someday all vapours will find the sky. How what we see stays up, even these by now completed directions fail to make clear. And then, as though this story might continue tomorrow, I sat next to the azalea I called a rhododendron and the rhododendron you called an azalea; I sat on the concrete cuff and heaved my way through a quart of ice and lemonade you handed me. It wasn’t that day but some other, in some other, transomless room, when I spotted you last, my upward grip as light as flour on my hands, so heavy on another’s.


Here are platinum irises that mean to be a summer spelling stone by stone the light. This is the plan: O! The honey raw on your berries and seeds, it too silvers the yoghurt and its three unmentionable names. No one mentions the mail either, and just as well. We do so well in silence. I will not have forgotten the scent of your kisses, a metaphor of nothing else. There is nothing else but the raspberries that fall in languor into my lips, your body a stream of light impersonated by water, passing over time.


I think now that getting old and dying is not frightening. I imagine getting more and more tired until I fall asleep and do not wake up, so that death becomes a sleep that comes after a dream or after a number of dreams that all tangle together into a fabric like the blanket I sleep under; light, soft, and warm. My wife bought it when she was living in a car, before we met. It is red and black checked, or plaided, in a pattern far less combustible than dreams. They go on sale every Christmas, I have learned. The one we bought this year was white. It is not yet so soft as the first, but our dog is white also, and his dreams are of lighthouses because we found him inside one, all alone, his knee broken in a lighthouse that looked like a powerline, and a powerline that looked like an artery of clay, dried in another summer’s sun.

Theodore Worozbyt is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alabama and Georgia Arts Councils. He teaches at Georgia State University. His books are The Dauber Wings (Dream Horse Press, 2006), winner of the American Poetry Journal Book Prize; Letters of Transit, winner of the 2007 Juniper Prize and published by UMass Press; and Smaller Than Death, winner of the 2015 Knut House Press Award. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Po&sie and The Southern Review.
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