PAST TENSEby Jayne Lyn Stahl
(for John Coetzee)
He looked like the picture of raskolnikov on the cover of crime &
punishment penguin edition he talked like james mason in lolita
when he walked nerves would shoot out of the soles of his shoes
his undershirts were always stained from his long walks home
and no matter what he did with his eyes
they did not fit in their sockets.
sometimes I would watch him
it was like lifting the skin off the skull of
and catching the wild veins as they shoot past.
what to do with the position of his nose?
the way he parts his smile is
it is like the Red Sea splitting
Sometimes I would sit and watch
the police cars shoot through his ears
he would bare his teeth like a wolfman
and I would know it was love.
Causes Jayne Stahl Supports
Free Speech, human rights, and abolition of the death penalty.