The mountains are idle like
wrenches in a box. Your harrowing chants
And nouns have a suspect nose;
They are adjectives hiding within a name
walking to the lens, shifting blame;
organizations as opposed to networks.
Thoreau moped the south shore,
sifting the empty waves for signs of
sovereign Margaret.
Luke appeared in the patterned glass,
prismatic and innocently broken.
We sent him away.
The search for a reason to be angry,
turned on the day again, and then more;
his body was bulleted and fabulous.
and these, over here,
are the shoes he died in.

Eric Wertheimer


No longer friends:
Geronimo occupied the caves whose steep entry
needs visitors forget the ground, to angle safely in a
level shadow. All along the half-rung rise, prows of old
film make stops of the air--make the
past speak like a movie will do in the tracks beneath; and people
just walk by, glibly focussed on
blood sugar and melanomae,
feeling their hips answer.

They do not suppose that
ships are broken far from the
sea, from Bangladesh and its
tiger-patterned strand. At its southern reach,
like the lost curl of a continent, canyon bows hide
old mining cars stranded halfway up
looking for their expected chutes, leaving a bilge
of visored salutes and petitions, above and below
in tourist breakwaters.

The ship leads back northerly out to the cold needle's
shadow and then divides, bending exactly to
the south again, and east. The Apaches
lost the cavalry in galley caves,
even when the light of day illumined
them like quarter moons on Peralta's deck.
Something cracked the ridge in that way, and
the world leaked and was confused
and large knowing birds
came to rescue its unnerving nestedness.

Even here, where the waves seem to rise
all the way up into darkness, it is possible
still to see a way home, or at least
the long promise that is your car,
avast in some cistern cup of morning.
You can see this against the floor of middle
shoals, which would break you and make
you slide infernal to Mexico,
from the bleeding hold of the earth.

Eric Wertheimer
ERIC WERTHEIMER has previously published poetry in Exquisite Corpse, Shampoo, and Muse Apprentice Guild. He is the author of Imagined Empires (Cambridge, 1998). He teaches at Arizona State University..
The Adirondack Review