Christopher Kondrich

Jupiter’s Wheels

There is nothing written on
the horizon is written
on the horizon I write
on the blackboard
while flowers toss the bees around
outside. The chalk hazes into waves
I ride into the greenish gray
with a dog I drew in the corner.
We want to drink the salt water,
scoop our hands/paws
into the moving world to touch
what doesn’t fall through.
Soon the sea pulls
to where whiteness takes over
and we float down, way down
its open mouth. Everyone is there:
my grandfathers who’ve died,
my sister and wife who haven’t,
wearing leis and knowing smiles.
I wanted more time
to love you, but now I have less,
less Jupiter taken apart,
watch parts splayed open
and bare; less Jupiter
descending into a textbook
molten core, threaded
through the eye of a gazer
or geezer or geese. Live not
in a Jupiter-less world, the elders tell us
as the record crackles something
absent, do not misplace
the market after the market has gone
home and the spices display
in the wind. But what do the elders do
when they walk up the hillside
that I don’t do over dinner,
a kind of glowing everywhere:
chalk food on chalk plates.


Your hair first
washed out emptying strands
of kelp

calcite crying
into the waves
of a pillow.

Your teeth next
to coral’s teeth

an emerald cloud
a drifting slope

shoved down
to rest the rest
of your life.


There is enough of it here to read by.
I show it what I have, humble offering
of the thousand that form me
a sibyl blue. I give them voice
and they fail to use it. I contain them
and am no less inferior.

The knees I kneel with are tiny
or enormous beetles. The hands I clasp are dying
and changing, changing and dying this time
and next. I don’t want to come to the light
tomorrow and have nothing. I don’t want
to find out I had nothing
from the start

of this long, drawn-out meal
of bean—the kind that disintegrates
as it falls. What have I had but trees
to dispel rumors, trails of smoke
to stand behind or beneath or before?
I bow my head and wait
for the innumerable breath.
When I am warm it is because
I am warm because of it
when I am warm