March 24, 2012
Spy Poem

       I don’t know how I found you—like
               red dots spread across lines, pages
               before I noticed I
 read them as if I read them—like when turns
       of plot arise
               in shows I watch
 while thinking how I thought them there—

       as in this passage here—now dear—
               come to where this paragraph goes
               to imagine your name
 like your signature—I found you—your style
       in these spots—red
               dots move across
 the lines with what you are saying—

       and I may have caught an error,
               but what gets fixed with “cinch” too close
               to “clinch” in article
 on Israel—as with rain, its coming
       down pattering
               on how it used
 to sound too much the exact thing,

       like same—is your fact—is your fact
               back here—it’s disappearing, dear—
               I found you still in one
 direction, and not yet gone to what we
       hear in the rain,
               still in its same
 fact—you are approaching, brother—

       that’s the rain becoming patterned
               as exactly mine patterning
               yours—is that the point to find
 you may be what I know slips close closer—
       there’s more to hear—
               or better throw
 it in reverse across the lawn

       whose house—that sound—a garbage can
               crushed by the way—you seem to know
               the route but not the turns—
 now dear, before we get this picture of
       you again—how
               you hate not to
 be perfect is less sometimes with

       someone there to see you hate it—
               it must be lovely to be like
               hair—to have precision
 so render your value apparent to
       yourself—but can
               you read with red
 ants across the page—you write of

       the self thinking of ways in which
               to appear the self able to
               determine the moment
 you traded the feeling of being watched
       for noticing
               you were watching—
 you write this like a witness to

       an accident, considering
              your account more and more closely
              until the belief that
 memory itself is time, itself is
       that kind of light
              everywhere,
 no, none here, then another like

       hair you think you finished sweeping—
              I said “brother” in the middle
              of the paragraph with
 two sweaty trash bags—one crawling with ants—
       a story you
              tell about how
 you split with thinking where it caught

       you here—years before—a park bench,
              willing to engage in chatter,
              considerate, pleasant,
 but by most accounts this conversation
       does not exist,
              not for all these
 people on the sidewalk, nor those

       possibilities of its width
              that were left to you sent forward
              by believing you went
 faster sent to the ground, broke your own tea
       bottle—no one
              helped as you came
 toward where need was confused for

       violence—like when the subway doors
              shut on a woman with a box,
              the man kicked the wall, said
 “they doing it on purpose”—dear, notice:
       first a branch moved,
              then several,
 a bird coming forward onto

       the sidewalk where it meets the walls,
              the building—uphill—the building
              continued to the store,
 which was larger than thought, extending round
       corner—voices—
              the tomatoes— 
 behind them there is space for what—

       Uruguay turning another
              you in sheets of mountain aerie—
              resting on the edge of
 I have no time for anyone who’d need
       the person next
              to them, before
 deciding they’d fit perfectly

       behind the phrase, “now close the door”—
              you were late, which made the crowds more
              difficult, the same as
 if you had nothing to do, but listen:
       the farther store,
              the street empty,
 again—I turned, you knocked into

       how far off—was it me moving
              the crowd—have you ever
              noticed it’s possible
 to forget birds for weeks, concerned with your
       own behavior—
              had nothing to
 do with everything else—but

       how bright the light, what you made that—
              the tomatoes you ate baked spoon
              inside each, warmer than
 voices you expected further into
       what you couldn’t
              see—that night you
 write of where rain is as white light

       over red dots, revealing they aren’t—
              aren’t they—simpler as splatter from
              the tomatoes on your
 apparitions—come in, that’s a coat rack,
       speak, that’s a light
              switch it loose like
 things are supposed to come apart—

       or and again—with whom begin—
              who’s there holding himself like he’s
              no better than here—like
 here’s a means by which anyone claims to
       exist—yes, yes,
              that one, who seems
 as if he hasn’t been told yet

       there’s a selection—is that what
              he traces in his pocket—no,
              only lining—ask him—
 what do we call him—brother—hey brother
       is the lining good here—listen,
 cinch means clinch, a sound that’s dear to—

       I don’t know how I found you—like
              there was a fix in on the fix—
              no, that was not hinted,
 that door at your touch was enough thesis—
       remember you
              don’t remember
 how to play—that’s preparation—

       like thawing a whole in pieces—
              like waterboarding or frozen
              elevation—like change
 long dead from lack of change or oxygen—
       are you thirsty
              now, dear—I’ve had
 you unjustly, you feel the time

       like time breaking, acting as if
              asking for just three square instants
              is to ask everything—
 you haven’t even thought that far in far
       too long—brother,
              it’s not who asks
 the questions, but that you make your

       answer easy—brother, as if
              you’re at home—no knock at the door
              could disturb you, for who
 belongs more in his place than you—a night
       like wind—into
              the rain—without
 you, could this comfort remember—

       brother, when it turns actual
              is what you mean less possible—
              the rain is it itself,
 or how exact it falls like grammar—kid,
       you never learn
              patterns partly—
 when you can say it you tell me—

       a limit always remembers—
              the next thing you know it’s hard to
              be after what you were
 here for—let’s have it—you leave them, brother—
       it’s just the wind
              leaving the hall,
 you can shut the windows later—

					
About the Author

Samuel Amadon is the author of Like a Sea, The Hartford Book, and the forthcoming Listener. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Lana Turner, jubilat, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of South Carolina, where he edits the poetry journal Oversound with Liz Countryman.


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