How the World Keeps Me
Darla Himeles
Grooved down deep 
at a rink
with my two good 
shins. Sturdy at dusk, 
stray brown oak leaves 
overhead. Hair curler of surf 
unfurling locks 
onto San Luis Obispo sand.
February wind 
flinging wool coat panels wide
on sidewalks. The click-hiss 
of carbonation breathing out cans.
Drift of music hazed 
by radios skating 
on worn-down tires.
Crocuses. White 
crocuses. Purple 
crocuses. Broken stones 
whose halves emit mutual gravity 
I can almost feel 
with my quiet finger.
Wednesday white peach 
wuyi oolong tea, E scribbling 
beside me.
Rivers.
The bridge eyes make
from across large rooms.
The heater's thump thump 
in this loud apartment.
The sunlight blinds streak in
onto a mattress. The pileated
woodpecker some die
without seeing. The hot earth
in east California deserts. The heat
of two bodies eye-darting
on an elevator. The four-
breasted seal my lover 
and I become tumbling alone 
in a pine-lined lake.
Train cars' snakelike approaches
at midnight. The feral swagger
of North Philly's mangiest cat.
Hot breath on an earlobe.
Sweat slicked on a dance floor.
Knowing that words are weak
talons good for perching. 
That my three-year-old nephew right now
is tennis-shoes deep 
in a San Diego fountain, 
kicking. That you
by some miracle are still 
with me. That somebody wove this
rug upon which we are reading. 
That somebody built this
and we are here, slaking its human thirst 
for animation. That we have built this
because we are soft-lipped animals
this world keeps hungry.
Darla Himeles holds an MFA in poetry and poetry in translation from Drew University and an AB in English from Bryn Mawr College. Her poems, translations, and essays can be read in recent or forthcoming issues of Women's Review of Books, APR, and Mantis. She lives in coastal Maine and in Philadelphia, where she is a PhD student in English at Temple University.