A Liberation of Underneath

By H.L. Hix

Certain shapes, like certain names and movements,
present themselves, but we three (here I presume
alliance I desire) pursue less forthcoming ones,
shapes not given but found or made, shapes of which
the finding is the making. Am I wrong to speak of “us,”
to speak as us? Or is that our comitas,
our acting and speaking as if we shared a soul?
May I wander through your gardens? May I see
as you saw, disguising a scanner to pose
as an improvised field camera, moving it close

to peony blossoms, to depict my fear of death?
And what ought we mind (the making is the finding)
during summer’s long absence, when dessicated stems
turned half-hearted hackles feign fury, when a web
of week-old snow warms the fir? Makes it, finds it an outline
that makes of us, that finds in us, a second sight.
But this assertion of their sameness first separates
finding from making. Let me try again. Last motel
I suffered (one of a chain, run down), I hit just the right
time of day and intensity of natural light

to witness, not flowers aflush in fertile soil,
but a man — a boy, really: that’s the crucial difference
between genders, that womanhood replaces girlhood
but manhood fulfills boyhood — a boy, then, crossing
the nearly empty parking lot, balancing a broom
on the tip of one finger, maintaining even strides,
and a woman, leaning against a newspaper rack,
smoking a cigarette, watching him walk, hiding a smile.
I doubt we should want to know what a balanced thing hides
before it falls. To be caught, to show both sides,

either offers liberation. Not the obvious kind:
bright feathers, wings outstretched, soaring through glinting sunlight,
all that. There is a liberation of underneath
to rival that of above. A liberation
of dark to match that of bright, of current to match breeze.
How imagine myself more free than as if deep
under cold water, in the colder water that flows
under cold water? As if. Toward the aim
of finding rather than being found, I keep — we keep —
out of sight, quiet, but this isn’t sleep.

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Categories: Issue 4, Poetry | 1 Comment

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One thought on “A Liberation of Underneath

  1. Cork

    The ultimate escape maintaining awareness.

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