Nancy Kuhl

Archival Footage #23: Daylight Savings

briefbright main street
a step-laddered man
reaches into the opened face
the glass hinged wide
the town clock he spins
spindle hands and everyone
watches time fly and every-
one loses the same hour
arm-in-arm corner girls still
now their seconds-ago
synchronized steps their
skirts shifting a steady
rhythm still now and the rigid
grocer in his doorway
and the boy in the passing
car window whose wavering
reflection sticks momentarily
in shopglass even the invisible
man across the street eye
to the lens focusing
framing these figures he’s
chosen for me no matter
time spooled out and gone
these shades trembling
like sunspots still now
and waiting for all
the seconds it takes
hands to turn one hour
into the next

Talking Points

Wasps through the crumbling window sash, droning
and sudden, like tiny riddles spilling from cracks between ribs;

well-dressed walls mimic they camouflage they
telescope: plaster seams split open where the nails went in;

and again and always you plot by suggestion you parallel you
shimmer bright you eventually you finally give way;

the trim and toothless jungle, the unkept promise of a wild
atmosphere under glass—how it cuts me decisively loose;

nevertheless you continue, you calculate axis and distance and
revolution in minutes in hours (there is no other way);

then it’s evening and oxygen blooms storm black, our boundless
sky threatens—it owns everything we said, every sentence:

in this room and certain others fists of lightning break open and
rain falls in fervent curtains when I close the door behind me.




Surface and swirl, day’s condition
shot through with pitchy revelation:

 this is a history of lead. Confined
cascade page and page; now 

moss and sweaty air collect beneath
the tongue. It’s true (a matter of fact):  

reading a man’s handwriting is like
looking at the shape of his mouth.


Waiting, With Prayer


Winter moon approximating
orange streetlight; 

 an empty lot, a car
dling. And a vibration

 behind the eyes: wait.
The story of one night, its

 furious appetite. Dazzling
this verge of decay,  

blue smoke border cross
vivid to vivid to brink. 

Save me from slip
and breakage, from this

volcano ash and steam. 
O radio, save me.  

And O tiny phone, flat
and shining and still, 

 O won’t you? 

 head on fists, held up
against gravity, against

 the weight of charms
that drag steadily and

 always from the silver
the chain around the neck.