The 2River View 22.3 (Spring 2018)

Jenny Ahn

Neighbor Sestina

My neighbor plants flowers at the gates every season.
He was cast out by blue cheek bone.
He said god my arms but I      all I hear
was the silence strangers could afford
wave snap flush clay crack.
I was the cartilage and the hound.

The raw fence crying for days like a hound.
The windows smoking so I know it's a ripe season.
I want to hold my neighbor, cradle her in the crack
and feign wellness in her smallest bone.
At striking moment, things lose the balance they can afford.
Her mask buckles. I hear

the floor peeling its lumber, hear
the beige light trapped in the corner, a hound
my neighbor does not have. Their locks afford
the house very fine openings. To season
their steps with grinded rocks and bone
is to dust my kneecaps until they crack.

I am funneling their pain rising through the crack
in the door. They don't know. He doesn't hear
the closet shuddering. Closer, her bone
hovering in the eye of the hound.
He said no god      no it wasn't the right season
but what can my neighbor afford

besides what they displaced to afford.
I am the one who thatches their crack
in the door five times a season.
The kitchen marble, not as cold as I hear,
salivates at the toes of a hound,
rasping inevitable as bone.

No, she says, I am not the town of this bone.
He howls, so why can't we decide to afford—
My neighbor falls and looks up to the hound.
The fire blowing on the eardrums. Smallest crack
I know. This town is where I can hear
the quietest season.

My neighbor’s season arrives to afford
phantoms like a hound sucking on sweet bone.
I crack it open, just enough    for them to hear.

Jenny Ahn is pursuing a Poetry MFA at Columbia University. Ahn’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Apogee Journal, Into the Void, and Palimpsest.

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