by Russell Jaffe

Blankets. Slim strands of dry hair.
A girl. A secret promise.
Fingers pressed together making a warm
tent in the red light–
And in this your

corn slowly opens;
nubbing thick like a newborn’s fingers
on a harp.
Thin strands of silk are pulled out and washed.
Standing on the porch I would call this
the rhythm of the growing season.
Laying on your side after dinner,

Your slow hills like
grasses into the distance.
Here, greens over greens turn
like pea soup into the fog–
your fingers press and turn
my own–
delicate enough to push peas
waking from their pods into the world.
There are days the sun doesn’t come out,
and there are days the corn doesn’t open,
cocooned in a smoky veil of languid green,
this green.

You to me feel your way
through the dark–
when two beetles meet and touch
antennae they make a double helix.
You could cry “life” at the distances from your porch
with a sweaty glass of something
clinking in your hand–
I have.
When it gets moist out
and quiet,
millipedes impossibly slide
themselves under the foundation
of the bathroom wall–

Together under tracts of blanketing
we calculate warmth and light–
we measure one another up in acres.
As I’ve grown I’ve stood on porch after porch
sizing things down–
you know the little things go about their business,
their sounds that still tapestry before winter…

Considering snowflakes that dangle in windows
or the ones that fall in clusters,
you and I are small as the bugs nesting
in stucco nooks.
There are always little holes,
spaces to go through;
this is how I feel about

Russell Jaffe lives in Iowa City and teaches English at Kirkwood Community College. His chapbook G(*)D is forthcoming from Pudding House Press, and his poems have appeared in elimae, horse less review, Shampoo, MiPOesias, and others.

Back to Issue Nine: Fall 2010