With Delicate Hand

By Nick Twemlow Nick Twemlow
Never instead put the bales in the bounty,
resize the type to provide ALLURE.
Look how the picture seems to tell a story.
Mother, I’m all dolled up in HOPE.
My breastplate hinge needs a little oil,
I’m hobbling along to kick your crutch.
Mother, I’m all doped up with DESIRE.
I’ve cleaned the machine with delicate
hand, scrubbed the data within an inch of its life.
Mother, I’m all diary today, feeling PENSIVE.
The returns keep disappearing, I can’t get my hands
around even one. I keep clicking through
the channels, the links, little vortex
displays all the characteristics of a MOTIVE,
Mother, but someone’s just reported
that the election has been made OFFICIAL.
The results seem promising. In one version
you get to keep the crown. The twin diamonds
sparkling your eyes sparkle harder, the LIGHT
takes on a decadence like that of old snow.
In the other, your garland consumes itself,
your hair falls out like nuclear, your elisions
lisp the windows shut, breaking the view
in half. Your face becomes but a VAGARY
and there are no backups in storage. I AM
a cosmos if I am still breathing. Wind breaks
at my neck and spells your name acrostically.
Spells your name like my BELOVED. Repetition
of facts and figures keeps me apprised. Dogs
mass in the streets, shaking bones, slurping scrap
lifted from the MALFEASANCE of silver plates
hung to dry from row house clotheslines,
the tread’s worn down on the spires sagging
from the GLORIOUS peaks of this great sky!
Can you hear the clicking through the air vents?
Did you notice the picture twitch on the bedroom wall?
Leaves turn pink and blue, SUPERNATURAL
is not dead, is rippling through me, I can feel
my toes, I can see you staring at my nape,
I can see you vivid in the dark corner of the day,
taking your damask gown off one strap
at a time, as if I were watching. I have a MANDATE.
Nobody else would bother to see you this way.

Nick Twemlow, “With Delicate Hand” from Palm Trees. Copyright © 2012 by Nick Twemlow. Reprinted by permission of Nick Twemlow.

Source: Palm Trees (The Green Lantern Press, 2012)

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Poet Nick Twemlow

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, The Mind, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Tercet

 Nick  Twemlow


Poet and filmmaker Nick Twemlow is a senior editor of the Iowa Review and co-editor of Canarium Books. His first collection of poetry, Palm Trees (2012), won the Norma Farber first book award from the Poetry Society of America. Judge Timothy Liu noted of Twemlow’s work, “Reading Twemlow gives one a deep sense about what's exciting about the lyrical possibilities embodied not in just of a first book of poems but any book of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Tercet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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