The 2River View 24.2 (Winter 2020)

Monika Zobel


It has been a few weeks since I wanted
the night to burn the day. I no longer fling
matches at the sidewalk. I’m no longer the resident
arsonist on our block. The houses crumble on their own.
Dear, did I ever tell you that I preferred the sinister
fairytales? Remember Trakl’s spin on the Bremen
Town Musicians? Oh wait, you never read
my poems. Let me tell you, all animals are drowned
at the mill. Their songs are made into the stars.
How’s that for a Disney story? Dear,
I remember a lifetime of stairs, your stairs, stairway
to your silences. Dear, I remember the parties
like a carousel. Your love yous made me throw up
down the balcony. I remember it had to end, setting fire
to all the words in the dark. I no longer want the night
to torch the day. I'm quitting the benches, your waiting
room, where nobody’s ever seen. Dear, I was tired
of stairs, your stairs, silent stairs. I remember how you glowed
in the dark, your sorry like a spark. Dear, I no longer strike
matches on your walls. Dear, it had to end. I remember
the sickness like a concrete block, anchored and dull,
something built for stumbling. No fire, no fire
could blow it up. Dear, I love the sound the heart makes
when it’s flung into the ashtray. Like a bullet in the woods.

The Trouble with What the Wind Does

What the wind wants darkens the street
between us. Hooligans kick the night’s teeth,
then each other’s, then the soiled bellies
of trash cans. Rats now only scavenge in sunlight
and the bakery, the bakery no longer slices
their bread. You and I, we darken the street
with our hunched bodies. If I were an engineer
I’d make all roads end in recovery, backwards
whisper in your room until my words stepped
out. The staircase smells of various deliveries.
Salt and brass. I can guess all your thoughts by shape
and texture. The rough ones I clench
until the wind takes what it wants. Cripples
the wasps, breaks the flowers’ necks. Memories
of how we broke our bodies, memories like meth
can make you jump from one branch
to another, a lost bird. This the beginning,
an introduction to our book of losses.

Monika Zobel is the author of An Instrument for Leaving (Slope Editions 2014), and Das Innenfutter der W├Ârter (edition keiper, Graz, Austria, 2015). Zobel works as a translator in Bremen, Germany.

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