OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 9
NEAR-ELEGY AT SUNDOWN
The problem is all movement is bodied,
this relief between things as they are
and the bottomless feeling of self.
Even Heidegger left it alone, meaning no language,
no matter how obscure, could reconcile
this other, deeper obscurity.
Matter/form, something extracurricular—
a plenum of impulse, determined forward.
I say this, but these words are not
where I am. I am seven or eight years old again
beneath the hum of powerlines,
the air soaked in two-stroke exhaust,
where the bitterbrush is quiet and still,
indifferent to their bodies pressing together.
I don’t understand what I see.
I see a man and a woman on top of a blanket
or maybe it’s a beach towel, the dirt hot
to the touch, and they rise and fall
into each other. Tell me what you know about the night terrors.
Thrown into this world, how else
could it be said, and how saying it
makes it so. I know that the body conceals its night
and that that is why it remembers, in general
and in detail without end.
And if our movements are already ahead of us,
governed by wind or gravity or are
wind and gravity themselves, governed
like any state, a soap bubble and inertia, these two bodies
rising and falling, and how easily love
becomes violent, the way they stand after,
the way they turn away from one another,
the way they don’t speak. Only later, years
between us, do I finally see
that I’m no longer the one watching. At some point,
how all things move, I became the man,
and that’s what I know, this blur
at the intersection of the narrative we’ve written
and the bodies we’ve written over,
the rocks beneath water.
Zack Rybak was born and brought up in Reno, Nevada. He earned his MFA from the University of Montana, where he was a Poetry Editor at Cutbank, and is currently an Associate Editor at Carve. His manuscript was a finalist for the 2019 National Poetry Series and his poems have appeared in New England Review, Mid-American Review, and Narrative, where he was a finalist for the 30 Below Contest. Most recently he was awarded the Nancy D. Hargrove Editors' Prize in Poetry from Jabberwock Review.