Shirts or Skins, a 2014 poetry chapbook by Jim Redmond

Late-Night Diaspora

Something in her voice,
like the smallness of candlelight,

blossomed and bright, a freshly cut spine,
too new
for my speaking.

Or the stretch of disease
like the yawn of a housecat;

flit of each playing card face
down on the table,

my own lust: a dark
halogen pop, the sweep of night janitors.

My body the size
of a crawl space, I can’t maneuver.

She tells me it is late, I should leave,
and I believe her.
Anything she says, I believe her.

The hardest stone must pass, 14 hands
consecutively must measure

the inseam of minor gods. The memory
of this count is a back road
erased by dead travel and she

is the double nakedness
of my best and worst intentions

because, I’ve been trusting darker things.
The hair stood up at the back of my neck
points me in the right direction.


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