Categories
Poetry

tintin in tibet

by Jamie Weil

A poem from the Fall 2020 issue.

by Jamie Weil | Poetry | Fall 2020

Nell Beck, four faces

now only, i 

am listening to “tintin in tibet.”
it’s autumn, and cooler than it was,
and phil elverum says, “you don’t exist / 
i sing to you, though.” 

he’s singing this to his wife, geneviève, 
who passed a few years ago,
just after their daughter was born.

phil’s songs are great missives
often written to his wife, or to the ether, 
or helios, or raven’s feathers;
he’ll skirt around the point,
but never quite arrive at it,
such that his ideas leak
in a sort of scattered melancholy. 

… it’s autumn. in the song, too, i think. 

now only, you 

are probably not thinking of me 
and certainly not singing
to me, or to anyone else.
maybe to yourself. 

the air is drier, and i
keep sneezing into my mask. 
can i write that so nonchalantly?

this is a moment i think we’ll remember,
which is a small devastation
like when i touch the place
where you kissed my neck, not intending to cry, 
or when i realize i’ll never 
quite discern between certain blues. 
“tintin in tibet” plays on loop, 

and now i’m aware it isn’t autumn after all.  

now only, we 

should have known; the lawns are free 
of leaves, and the date is apparent
to anyone with a fair grasp of things.
i sit on my stoop and share a look

with a black bird in our maple tree. phil sings, 
“standing in the front yard like an open 
wound / repeating ‘i love you,’ to who?”

and i get the sudden sense
that he’s somehow read my psyche,
or at least my poems, and then
i feel stupid for associating my loss with his. 

and then i just feel sorrow. 

behind me, the sun sets
in blankets of glare, falling
from a distant windowpane.
i don’t notice the sky change color;
blue, to blue, to blue.
can you live in the moment
when the moment is just begging 

to be passed through?
like this weather,
like each small devastation 
breaking across my neck; 
like each aching moment of 
“tintin in tibet,” and yet
i listen. 

i listen.