Lines for painting on grains of rice

By Craig Arnold Craig Arnold

For Rebecca

You are the kind of  person who buys exotic fruits
             leaves them out on the counter until they rot
You always mean to eat them       sometimes you rearrange them
             rousing over the bowl a cloud of tiny flies


How do they balance       the parrot who chews a walnut
             sideways       holding it up in his right foot
the owl perched on a just-lit lamppost
             scratching behind its ear       like a big dog


Your pencil eraser wears down long before the point
             for every word you write       you rub out two


Where the slice of  toast rested       the plate is still warm
            a film of fog       little points of dew


Love is like velocity       we feel the speeding up
            and the slowing down       otherwise not at all
the more steady       the more it feels like going nowhere
            my love I want to go nowhere with you


I cannot bring myself  to toss the cup of cold coffee
       you set down by the door on your way to the taxi
all day I have sipped it       each time forgetting
       your two tablets of fake sugar       too sweet


Running down the street
        dodging between raindrops plump as cherries


The ground was feathered with wild strawberries
        I picked seven       as many as I could bear
I ate two       I saved the rest for you       here
        hold out your hand       take them       taste how sweet


Please hold me the forgotten way       the wall pleads
        spray-paint face and voice of a damned poet
the darling damned poets       save them from themselves
        maybe it is us they need saving from

Source: Poetry (October 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2013
 Craig  Arnold


Craig Arnold earned his BA in English from Yale University and his PhD in creative writing from the University of Utah. Arnold’s second collection of poetry, Made Flesh (2008), is “motored by vividly earthy language and disguised philosophical sophistication,” observed Publishers Weekly in a starred review, praising “sequences neither (quite) lyric nor narrative, but erotic and ever alert.” The raw, emotional intensity of Made . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Desire, Romantic Love

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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