[There’s a point]; [The Bandleader]; [Some kids killed a goat]; [The paint chipped away]

Gabrielle Calvocoressi

[There’s a point]

There’s a point where it all gets still,

                              when the Bandleader’s there between the branches

of my fingers. When I cover my eyes

                              as if to block dal segno out. To the left of us,

to the left of the city an hour away,

                              there’s the place my father called

the null point:

                              where you can see better and everything gets

like a spring morning, he’d stand

                              behind us on the mountain. He’d place

his hands on my shoulders.

                              He’d say, Try it

with the birds first, my thumb in the early light

                              surrounded by golden haze. I’d cover

the bird no larger than

                              my thumb. Then we’d find the locusts

and then we’d try the bees

                              (the day growing hotter, the day itself starting

to hum and buzz). Get still,

                              he’d say, Let your eyes get loose and

double. And then focus in.

                              To the left. To the spot the summer came inside

me. Still and silent like someone diving in the pool.

                              How you lie there in the stillness ’til they

surface. That’s how we learned. Birds then the bees

                              then the mayflies like dandelions blown to

bits. I was better at it than my Brother.

                              I was more patient: little thumb on the mayfly,

little thumb held to the left of us.

 

[The Bandleader]

The Bandleader calls it the Angel Position.

                              The what? I asked. The Angel Position. Let me

explain, the Bandleader says. No.

                              Let me show you. Down on whose knees.

dal segno below me. I’m in the window,

                              the ocean behind us, the fronds of the palm

like a crown and in the shadow like

                              wings. Where the curtains would be

hooked, my wrists instead. I don’t know,

                              I said. dal segno says, You’ll like it.

Naked with the sun warming my back.

                              Almost sunset. You’re orange, the Bandleader

says. You’re getting like fire. My shadow

                              getting larger than me. My crown of palms

now my wings against the wall. And the stool

                              my bare feet stand on shaking when dal segno touches

it. Don’t touch it, I say. Don’t touch it, you’ll break

                              my arms. You’re an angel, the Bandleader says,

You’ll love it. At first the glass feels cool on my back.

                              dal segno leaves me like that to go get a drink. To answer

the phone. What must the whales think?

                              An angel in the window. Another girl splayed

blocked a little by the palm

                              while the dealer and the Bandleader

talk by the pool. How much do I want it?

                              dal segno asks

as dal segno stands in the door. How much?

 

[Some kids killed a goat]

Some kids killed a goat and cooked him in the ground.

                              They had us over. Deep in the hills on someone

else’s ranch. It was good.

                              They cooked him all day and asked us to come

by and dal segno loved it: the Bandleader

                              got out of the car laughing. It was good:

the kids ambling towards us lights making stars all around they said,

                              Come over!

The air smelled like smoke,

                              they lifted the goat out of the ground,

all their hands moving along it on the wood table. Seven knives and
everyone laughing. The kids picking off the skin and handing me some.
Then the ribs cut through. Then the haunches and the hams. Someone
took the head for soup. One of the older women. Someone brought
plates piled high with corn. This is so good, the Bandleader said. It came
right off the bone. We put it in tortillas and ate it with our fingers in the
darkness with little lights shining above. It wasn’t greasy like I thought
it would be. Boys were feeding girls and laughing. Someone thanked the
goat and all the sweet kids said, Thank you, goat. And the Bandleader
said, Thank you, goat, and grinned at me. All the kids running around
and one ran up and said, I know who you are! And the Bandleader said,
Who am I? And the boy squealed and ran away. Come here, I heard the
Bandleader say. Come here.

                              dal segno feeding me the juiciest meat and kissing its steam off my chin.

 

[The paint chipped away]

The paint chipped away on the wall looked like the bull

                              that we found in the sky: little bull’s legs

with the big head and a pile of stars in his neck.

                              Near the Queen’s Suite

that rises in Autumn.

                              Pegasus, Andromeda, and The Great

Square. (what we called my father

                              when we got old enough,

before we didn’t talk anymore)

                              Imagine having a pile of stars in your neck,

a bull made of stars.

                              I liked it best when we’d lie there

and look out the window.

                              run my hand through the air and say,

There to there

                              to there. It doesn’t really make sense

unless you know what you’re looking for.

                              You know?

Little bull in the sky on the wall with it’s hickey of stars.

                              Someone sucked the light right
                              to the surface.

Let me show you, I’d say.

                              Let me show where we are.

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