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for Oliver Bendorf
On you we barnacles
cling and scratch,
your rising fog burning through,
great cliff down which
we knuckle and toehold twist
into a strain of understanding
tongue’s pleasure and dominatrix,
choking hazard, descended larynx,
slave to the hand, head and heart’s
highwayman on his road between,
word horde, talk exchange,
the ballroom where our questions meet,
green idea, sleeping furious seed,
of eye from ear bone, taxonomist
old man cogitator in his algebra
of syntax, boxing the world
into a geometric form,
gender-sorter, color-shifter, arranger
and maker of past, present, and future
a hole in which to dig our secrets
an ear for lies to spin, diviner
and deceiver, definer,
body’s virus with a branch structure
dividing flit from focus, from air
without which no never,
the buckle of between,
a kind of bridge we breech or break,
what if’s worry chain and erecting architecture
of idea and love and loss and lie and lesson
all of it lessening, gossip and glamour,
nerve and jargon generator,
fossilized lizard warden
of the brain’s deep locker,
a weak verb’s fail, failed,
and failing that and better, all coupled
with our own noun’s stammer.
Catherine Wing is the author of two collections of poetry, Enter Invisible and Gin & Bleach. She teaches at Kent State University and serves as the General Editor for the Wick Poetry Center’s Ohio Chapbook Series.
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