by Jamie Weil | Poetry | Fall 2020
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