“Lungs Like a Distance Swimmer” by Weston Cutter

Weston Cutter


They’re building a new building inside the old one, have torn down
walls to make room for new toilets and still lifes of apples and
stretched on the fencing around the site’s perimeter flaps a sign
advertising Extreme Safety which is just a fancy way to say yes,
we already thought of that, we’re professionals, jeez
, and there’s air
venting from one of the old windows, air that’s not being fed
like dinner into all the half-flattened local bike tires and because
I’m hungry I decide bike tires are hungry and because I can’t ever seem
to get my lungs full enough I wonder if to create New the workers
first have to deflate Old or if the lungs of what’s old have to be de-
screamed before the new shout, that monstrosity, can be erected
so that it can be razed in thirty years for its failure to anticipate
the pure gold of new needs, it’s like faulting a bear for not liking
the right kind of honey, there should be more fencing like this,
around every thing, the milk in the fridge I can’t get enough of
even though every time I drink it my body retunes to the key
of groan, around the CD I keep playing like each song’s a firecracker
to decode, around the blond woman I cannot hold and so can’t stop
aching to hold, maybe dismantling’s just backward algebra, unbroken
window as the letter X and if one building’s going up inside another
what time did the train my future lover’s riding leave Memphis, solve
for the color tongue, the midnight yes, the yellow I’m sorry
hard hats the workers wear as they lounge smoking near the mound
where a tree I’ve now outlived recently stood, they crunch into
the doomed building seeking old boards marked almost and screw
by screw undo today’s not-good-enough, make room for tomorrow’s
yes, this. Color of sigh, brick of almost, doorway to maybe: I’m
a block past when a worker whistles, I turn back and look at a woman
crossing the old building’s final exhalations her loose green dress
clinging to her like a wish, blown.

from Rattle #37, Summer 2012

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