MICHAEL LEVAN


POET’S GUIDE TO FRACTAL DIMENSION

You watch your only love
tread ocean’s coastline,
following curves out and in,
toes kept off sand burning
after long day’s cloudless sky.

Your love is mad
at you, your love is tired
that simple requests are
drawn out like shadows,
stretching every hour
until nothing is left
recognizable.

Your love heads
toward the lighthouse,
maybe for a sunset’s better view,
maybe to cool off,

probably to think
whether you can ever change.

At first comes good
riddance, then
how you’ll ever survive,
last what it will take
to reconcile.

Still, your love is far from you
and getting farther:

several football fields,
a handful of lifeguard stands,
dozen stone-throws,
one hundred hotel pools, end to end.

When you measure in feet,
the length of a kiss,
it’s all you can do
to blink and breathe,

and what strikes you
is not distance
but the complexity
of a relationship
ever working between
two people so similar,

two people staring back
through moonlight
miles neither are ready to close.

 
 
 
 
POET’S GUIDE TO THE DEMISE OF THE AETHER

Imagine you are a wave
without water

or sound without air
to vibrate along;

what would you be
without a force

to move through?
—Adrift and staring

into starless night,
no landmark to

measure progress by,
you are a man

who looks up from his ship
and becomes the center

of the world. Scared, you
take the boat’s velocity,

the wind’s speed
and direction,

then hope you’re
in the crosshairs

of some godly eye
because you are

a metaphor, your ship, too,
as you sail Earth

through the aether,
which must exist,

you think, since how
could the universe be full

of so much emptiness?
You cut and cut

a planet-sized wake
in space, keep searching

for a wave of light
speeding from the sun

over the horizon,
but it doesn’t come

to open a new day,
to lay bare a dock,

a city, your wife pacing
the widow’s walk.

You float along under
the blue-black sky

every seasick sailor
knows, the heavens

never slowing enough
to help show you the way,

leaving you such a beautiful
failure with nothing to trust,

nothing to touch, nothing
to carry you home.
 
 
 
 



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