Asa Montgomery: Three Poems from The Future

Poetry: Asa Montgomery

Like having your eyes sewn shut 1

Someone planted a tree
in my stomach. Roots tore

through my ribs, limbs poking
under my fingertips. Light splintered bark.

My fingers felt the sun in the backs of human necks.
Leaves brushed the backs of my lips.

Invisible birds karee karee-ing,
moths’ creaking their door hinge wings, leaving white

dust in tree hollows.
Light needled through holes in the leaves.

(Remember pines at the lake.)
Glass of night

fell through their fingers (a bell
in Styrofoam, smashed until it sounds).

Is this what’s happening in me?
Is this in you too?


Someone snuck in
through my window with an unused

toothbrush, yellow, translucent.
They’d held the end over a stovetop burner

until the plastic melted, then wedged
in a razor blade and waited

for the plastic to re-harden.
In the morning I paused

in the full-length mirror.
I could see straight

through my body in some places,
a postcard of the jungle,

veins for vines. (And I’m
supposed to follow fear to find

you?) Empty spaces
like fragments of sky.

Is that a cloud or flower?
Is that a star or cigarette burn?

Like having your eyes sewn shut 2

I locked the upstairs bathroom.
Set the full-length mirror to face
the three-leaf mirror over the sink.
Let hot water run.

Tweezers in the
middle drawer on the,
rubbing alcohol
inside the mirror.

I sat on the porcelain countertop
and observed my hand,
reflected twice,
reach over my shoulder
to pluck out the staples that lined my spine.
Put them in a plastic cup.
Unopened bag
of cotton balls in the bottom
drawer, as feathers fell
to the linoleum floor.

So this is it?
You never
even flew. You never even

Like having your eyes sewn shut 3

“In moments of deathlike being: all humans
are worthy of love … your poem is incomplete

—Georg Trakl

I climbed blind
toward midnight
with you. You tucked
me in, a child
in a cornfield. And we laughed
together in
forest shadows.

Corn stalks like puppets their limbs they
were tied.

My silver eyes were
hollowed by an icy wind.

They found you in the silver night
drinking from the radiator
in forest shadows. I’m worried

about you.

I’m make you a mask
from orange
paper and cut the eyes
so they eclipse
your face.

That’s not right.

In moments of death-
like being,
you were the poem.
Is what I wanted to say

though I know
it’s not enough

Asa Montgomery was born and raised in rural Maine and currently lives in Guatemala. Publications have appeared or are forthcoming in Storm Cellar, The Maine Review, and elsewhere.


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