first warm day

Degas thought each of the dancers was a city

 

Jacobs thought her block was a company of dancers

 

the body is a kind of simple machine

 

I don’t mean your body or mine because that’s too close

 

I want a friend who stumbles over my pronoun to apologize

 

he doesn’t and my body in the room with him isn’t mine

 

that time or the next time or the time after that

 

and I can’t figure out how to say why it hurts to see him

 

I bake one large slice of cake and walk around with it

 

I keep being interrupted by people I know on the street

 

and on the trolley, near the gas station and in the park

 

and they’re all like “that’s a beautiful slice of cake”

 

it’s the width of my shoulders and I offer a bite

 

and they take one and what I want is to be alone

 

in public with this slice of lemon cake with nectarine

 

in the middle and cinnamon frosting I’m saving half

 

of it for Sophie who will meet me here but I’m

 

eating my half now and both trolleys come up

 

on either street peripheral to the park at once

 

Ian McHarg thought a mountain was a body in a city

 

Le Corbusier thought bodies were machines in the house

 

I hug all of these strangers with the cake on a plate

 

behind their back and they take a bite when it emerges

 

I hug them all and wish Sophie were here she’s better

 

at hugging and last week I cut my friend’s hair

 

and her friend’s hair who kept saying “are you finished”

 

and “this is so much better than paying for a haircut”

 

they agreed with each other that they wouldn’t shave

 

their heads because it would change how people

 

perceived them as though they have some idea

 

that must be nice or having this cake slice is like

 

walking a dog and people want to pet it I take out

 

a box of forks from my bag and people in the park

 

walk over and ask if there are nuts in it and there

 

are no nuts and they feel weird that a bite is free

 

but they want one and I hand forks to their

 

four year old and their six year old and I pet their dog

 

who licks me first in one nostril then the other

 

there’s still half left for Sophie one child says

 

to a parent “that person made a nice cake” and

 

that feels good as does the warm weather

 

and the early buds all the green and lavender

 

I’ve been anticipating and a little of it is here now

 

Reyner Banham thought streets were the private

 

drives between the public highway and your home

 

Venturi thought we could learn from a city that

 

was mostly signs and the afterthoughts of buildings

 

Francesca is my teacher who traces all the bulldozers

 

the U.S. made to form flatter battlefields in WWII

 

that came back to build flat suburbs in the Malibu

 

Hills and outside Philly and everywhere after the war

 

it’s early march and 79 degrees and across the park

 

is the statue of Dickens every February there’s

 

a dessert reception here to celebrate his birthday

 

Amy is my other teacher who thinks we can make

 

a map of where people get heart disease and where

 

and how they get groceries and show the impact

 

of what a food desert does and to whom

 

there’s a picture of my dad’s friend three years

 

before she died of pancreatic cancer in this part

 

of the park serving the trifle she was famous for

 

on Dickens’ birthday

 

and she’s smiling and hugging people

 

but not in the picture in the picture she has a spoon

 

and whip cream and layers in this amazing eleven inch

 

and deep round glass dish and I’m thinking of her

 

here like a vigil when I see Sophie and she waves

 

both arms and I wave and raise the half-slice

 

*

Davy Knittle’s poems and reviews have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Fence, Jacket2, and The Iowa Review. horse less press published his chapbook, “empathy for cars / force of july,” in 2016. He lives in Philadelphia and curates the City Planning Poetics series at the Kelly Writers House.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s