As I Walked Into the Middle of the Night Squinting

By Lucy Biederman

1			

He says But you don’t know
You kind of love
When someone holds
The night by its toes and 
All the adjectives fall out	

His life of me is gone
I can’t stand to hear of it for long
Put on a game or something
And yet and 		out and along 
For hours in a snowstorm
An instant longer, in the summer dawn
I smell the places we used to go
They shouldn’t be back this way again

2	

March lands hard and low 
Redressing who’s been wintering in the den
No one should back out that way again

Frozen lakes are plunked 
Round the region
Like the free paper
You’re supposed to go out
And scream on them
Fall through the ice
And be rescued again

3

March winds blow
In the alley below
Midnight someone 
Presses hard and holds
Nothing moves 
But you
Draw on it later

The whole experience shatters
Aw, he baked a batch of letters
Put on your nicest hands and hug his mother
The towns we saw together 
I’ll pull like taffy
Leave them on the median where the bad kids gather
Come close for a kiss and the remote and a kiss 
I threw my gaze around the room all night 
Like a spear
I hate it here
The white sky looked drunk
As I ducked into a meadow of early lilacs breaking

4

To other endings open 
I for a moment
At the passenger side window am
Cross out the animals
Come rest in the dashboard 		children	campuses

The aperture shatters
He’s in Houston with a business plan where party people gather
Stop calling, they’ll never be together	
Don’t instruct me, I’m the air we breathe	
My ground teeth power dreams
No music feathers my screams
Close the shutters
It’s ill out, things are what they seem

5

Do you ever think of — No
Put on your pants and go

The frozen lakes don’t move
Smooched eggs and toast
For a nation of lovers 
Wake up to them 
Dripping down the wall
The whole apartment spattered

6

As I smacked into the puddle of his life singing
His hands built monuments and knocked them down
There’s no sound like the present
Beating on the dashboard like a bat
If we wait until dawn 
The animals in the backyard stay hidden
And dawn doesn’t come 

They should be backing up this way and then 
To get to get to 
Don’t wake up today
You know what I sleep for you for
All the scars in the sky
They desire to lie 
So they call their lies desires

7

This mini city’s too pretty
Its miseries suffer extra
Look out at the neverending green
The darling restaurant-bars
And start pretending
Here’s you in a windowseat
A little miniseries
With letters in your hair
I know you love that sweet coffee drink
Here’s a little shot of you 
With a little cup of it 
In a little seat

So. We called called called you home
Where were you when
Five years February gone
Holding a beer at a busy party
None of your coats were warm enough
You made all the doors look open
I put his desires out with the recycling

8

He came over and made me
Go out tonight
Don’t be afraid of the scary sky
But hundreds of thousands
Are still without power
The branches on the path
Don’t admire how 
It just lasts

In a weekend cabin 
To do some pretending
I hate it here
The past is ending
Here are you 
Get up and put on a book or something
As lake is to frozen lake
Understanding to standing 
Desire and desire
Are panting and heaving
Let’s get out of bed and start leaving

9

All the freed light spatters
The branches on the path
Are at odds
It’s not God

10

Ah, the frozen lakes don’t move me
The bad kids are screaming 
Their lungs out on the ice
When their lifetimes come
They’ll be disappointed 
But only as disappointed
As when dinner’s brisket

I pull down my stockings
Don’t — the TV repeats
Slow show on
Repeat after me
After me March winds blow
Doors close
Lakes do and lakes do and 
Books stay closed 

Start walking
                      and out and along and
You know how to walk clear out of town
All the way to Taco Bell
Called you for so long 
I learned how to do it without a phone

11

Don’t you walk up and again 
In a panting room
Purse full of objectives
Have another and another and another on me
From home where I miss them
Machines stay on
They don’t call it waiting
You should learn to be like that
But don’t you know
He says Nobody lies the way I desire 
And yet and if only 
To get out for the night 
I’ll take your judgment into the street
The kinds of lovers I’ve been don’t count 

Do you ever think of — No
Wind and march and blow

12

The white sky is blameless
It portends more strapless hopeless skinless boneless evenings
I’ll only pretend to go out tonight
Fill up on air, it tastes like only nothing
Pull up and hand me a book or something
He’s only bluffing 	He’s only loving	He’s only bluffing
Light traced paths in the dust above the rafters
As I stalked around the demolition of the next building

13

Freezing a lake with just your memory
You’re shaking your legs together
Night understands you
Pulls down its pants for you
No one else has ever seen 
How it breaks into purple 
Puts away the stars and moon
And hums impatiently for dawn

The likes of which make you look open 
All the doors you made are broken
Do you ever think of
All the desires in the sky
Even the stars they are are pretended
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About Lucy Biederman

Lucy Biederman is a doctoral student in English Literature/Creative Writing at the University of Louisiana and the author of two chapbooks, The Hardest Part Is Done (Grey Book Press, 2013) and The Other World (Dancing Girl Press, 2012). Poems of hers have appeared recently or are forthcoming in BOMBlog, Denver Quarterly, subTerrain, H_NGM_N, and The Tusculum Review. In Fall 2013 Red Bird Press will publish “As I Walked Into the Middle of the Night Squinting” as a foldout “mapbook,” with paintings by Susan Solomon.

2 Comments

  1. mary.orovan
    Posted March 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Fantastic. As someone who also writes with wild berry jam on rich poetry bread, and swirls in human experience, (Green Rain, Poets Wear Prada, 2008), I admire everything about this long, sustained loveliness that spans seasons and emotions,and that takes
    “… the night by its toes and all the adjectives fall out” Brilliant.
    Mary Orovan

  2. Billie M.
    Posted June 2014 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed your words Lucy.

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