it doesn’t take much

by Nathaniel Calhoun

it took quite a bit more from me by the end of it
than I expected. but it didn’t take much to get underway.

we grew or we aged and we overdressed or the rooms
were all different temperatures. we suffered
visibly enough to siphon off the friction
that attention brings, which is a kind of heat, I guess.

someone said to me just because you’re frustrated doesn’t
mean you’re doing anything or that you’re even trying.

we aren’t one of those little rains that you can
just wear your clothes straight through.
we are fucking pouring.

what if an ungrateful scion pushes a deadening down
into the rootstock’s vein—not something
it’s hardened to resist but a crater compulsion
not to care about eventual fruiting, to abdicate
the core shoulder standing duty of it?

it isn’t taking in the sense of a graft where the graft
requires new skin and not new but from elsewhere
on the same body the same body needing the graft
elsewhere where elsewhere is different from the first
as all things are different from the first and all
subsequent numbers are numbness after decimals
as we become patchwork from our injuries which
are also numb.

the brave and the vulnerable know people who have been
taken apart. immanence is glowing with decay.
how can you just stand there?



Nathaniel Calhoun lives in the Far North of Aotearoa New Zealand. He works with teams that monitor, protect and restore biodiversity in ecosystems around the world. He has published or upcoming work in Guest House, takahē, Azure, I-70, DMQ Review, Misfit, Quadrant, and Landfall. Quite rarely he tweets @calhounpoems

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