Open Casket

Sometimes I can't
move a single chess piece
without bursting into angles.

I get distracted
trying to smooth the white square
of cloth covering my face. But

there is a place I go
where I don't have to miss
the sundial:

The freckles on your face and body,
the way they trade places.
Your collarbone wreathed in sleeping lilies.

We pry out our diodes.
We make our two cities touch.
This white owl refuses to snow

in reverse, but with the gentle unpinning
of each corner of silk,
I shovel more coal into the sky and call it

a death in both directions.

Summer, I didn't get the flowers you sent

Because I was afraid of your leaving
and spent four months guarding

a nest of Malachite eggs,
little never-hatchlings.

Because a hummingbird's breath
smells like dynamite.

Because the mole beneath
your left breast

reminds me of Europe.
Laughing in antique shops.

Ugly chair. Big Navajo braid.
Because if you ask for a metaphor,

you will receive a pair
of jumper cables

with nothing to attach them to.


CAMERON DECKER is a poet and programmer living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His work has appeared in journals such as Black Tongue Review and The Laureate. More information about other projects can be found on his website,