Molly Damm

Vacilando Territory Blues


           for Alex Cullen

It’s true to stop listening to the voices
that tumble through the river. To stop waiting for a ballast,
waiting for the level, stop going out at night for walks
and trying to get spiritual, stop thinking about sources
the gates we carry each other through about snow on the ridges,
where it runs to, and all of that silence. I’d rather be lying in the lap of a Porteño
on a bench in a park passing warm orange soda from hot mouth
to hot mouth. Rather than already knowing let me be learning
over and over how to say let’s go and you are my brother words
for wheelbarrow for mud, straw and when and how about now?
Let me be ecstatic naked and high in the pines in a darkness
that admits only terrific upwellings of heat, deep passage
pray I’ll be gilded palm to palm. Rather let the horse
spook and run off into the desert with my bedroll than waltz slowly
around the padded rooms of my heart with my hands outstretched
for the light switch. Again I hear the voice of the friend,
wicked and warbling me to turn on each of the tiny bones
of my ears, to turn on a bold kindness, to cling to the parting smoke
of these full, heavy dreams. And I’d rather have you in a crumbling house than
continue to revise your ghost into a poem, much better to see than all of the looking
hear than all of the listening today I’ll burn and in the burning singe, maybe never
even shine upset the balance affix my hips to your hips and make of the heat and pressure a stone bowl to place at the edge of the sea.

And whenever I hear Richard Thompson do 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
just like the other night want to be more like the words I couldn’t make out
or misheard want the bar to be darker the touching more sudden
so that I barely have time to kiss your arm around my collarbone
because they say everything that rises
must converge and it’s true
I am mixing metaphors and conflating the bodies of most
of the people I love, but if I stay here, and you weld scraps of iron into a rough box
then I will feed it
and feed you all day
I will leave everything
to the mystery
you won’t believe how clearly, if you’ll let me, I’ll arrive.

Molly Damm

A native of Michigan, Molly Damm received her MFA at the University of Virginia. Her work has recently appeared in the Colorado Review, The Collagist, and Copper Nickel. She lives in Bozeman, Montana.