Jeff Santosuosso

JEFF SANTOSUOSSO


5:07 pm

The gibbous moon had rushed
the evening, rushed the twilight,
white on the pale blue of the day.

Nothing but clarity between them,
behind him the wan, the waning sun,
before him an early usher.

Leaving the car in the driveway,
closing that door, the garage closed,
he walked the long way to enter,

turned his back on the bodies
rising and declining nearly motionless,
snapshots into evening, then night.


Shafts of Heat and Exhalation

The Earth bursts a thin film,
bores through iron and nickel
through mantle and magma,
finds a fault, focuses her fury,
forces herself past this final veneer
feigning to hold her back.

Her core’s blast scorches
a spindle of sky abiding there,
a shaft of heat and exhalation,
exhausted then dissipating,
descending to rest
on ashes and dust.

We rise above her,
arch our backs, lungs heaving,
shafts of heat and exhalation,
warming our personal sky
until we lay ourselves down
beneath her surface.


For the Migraine Sufferer

Astronomy and physics command our earth.
Rotations and orbits –
The human body is no match for celestial velocities.
The brain nests in vessels that feed neurons
Sometimes one red blood cell at a time.
Rotations and orbits do not dizzy the mind,
As some great gravity secures our steps.
But biology can fail at a place smaller than a lightning strike
On the tip of a hummingbird’s beak.
Planets and blood conspire against us.

When your head is halved in horror,
Rest.
When one eye swells to burst its lid,
Rest.
When your neck tightens in buboes,
Your fists clench at their nails and scythe their skin,
Rest.
When your gut blows full of bricks
And your jammed jaw shears your sinuses,
Rest.
Rest if you can.
Sleep if you can.
When blood cells at your brain pound in spaces too small for darkness,
Too small for hope,
Do not hope.
Yield.
Yield if you can, do what all people do as their very last.
Do it now for a while.
Shrink like a collapsed star to densities as deep.
Descend to that spot there that has taken every moment
Of your life and closed it on itself.
Rest, rest if you can.

Tomorrow, or then after,
You will awaken. You will rise.
Your ears will court the thunder of tectonic plates,
You’ll bite the planet, and I mean bite,
Like ripping out Australia with your teeth,
The roots of the outback dangling on your chin.
You’ll smell the banana on your neighbor’s counter,

Count the sun’s rays on your earlobes,
Stand on the galaxies and kick at planets like soccer balls,
And grab the earth and hold it still if you desire.

Man has mastered the moon, Mars is next.
The universe is just the further sky,
Your brain is mighty in blood, even there
Where it passes one red cell at a time.


August

Too dark to tell which sprinkler heads
are active now in the garden,
faint phrasing at the foliage.

They overreach their intended
trajectories. Water puddles
on pavement, then drains off somewhere.

Cloudstrips drift along and gauze
the moon’s corona. They pass still.
The mist gathers at cooling blooms.

The sprinkler halts. Its heads retract
as the moon orbits in silence –
almost, for the cloudstrips persist.


Cat’s Eye Marble

Nowadays, I watercolor
at angles.
I have to do just about everything
at angles.
Except speak.
I try not to speak at angles.
That’s like misleading the moon.
Even when I can’t see it,
I know the moon’s there.
It’s always there.

I used to see cubicle light
at night,
far away, across the harbor –
bedrooms, dens and kitchens,.
From over the bridge approach
traffic lines,
headlight whites approaching,
underlining streetlights,
tail light reds trailing further,
fading into darkness
like the shroud around starlight,
penumbras over the long haul of night.

They gleam in my eye,
a crescent moon straight off
a cat’s eye marble
mostly cataracted,
looking at angles,
knowing the moon is there
even when I can’t see it.


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