Three poems by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Collage by Eva Tihanyi
DOG CUSTODY: A VILLANELLE
you are in love, you make silly choices.
Selecting him was easy: the only blue dog we’d ever seen.
It’s hard to forget his bark, a cloud of furry voices.
As we left the pet store, we laughed at the invoice
listing all the toys and food so expensive, so obscene.
When you are in love, you make silly choices.
And after we broke up, how do we make choices
regarding who gets to see him without being mean?
I can’t sleep in the dark. What are those scary voices?
What about the Sundays we left him to rejoice
at church? Can you forget how you leaned
toward me in love, how you sang faith’s praises?
In my car, I found one of his frayed old leashes
from the last time at the park—he came back unclean.
He barked at the geese, a cloud of winged voices.
You win. I give up—he always listens to you best: chases
squirrels, but returns. But if a new girl comes, I’ll turn green.
When you fall out of love, you make silly choices.
Three hundred miles away, I can still hear your voices.
DALÍ’S FEAR OF GRASSHOPPERS
A little larva
trapped in a bean
soup. I want to eat
all the jumping.
off the salt.
if it swam
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of Miracle Fruit, winner of the Tupelo Press Prize. She is assistant professor of English at SUNY-Fredonia.
Two Poems by Eva Tihanyi
OF VISION WITH REGARD TO
The human eye holds images
a fraction of a second longer
than they are in sight
Each such instant: an interstice
like the space between the shoe
and the foot in it, the act
and its consequence
After each frame, unnoticed,
the next moves in, smooth and discreet
The eye thinks it’s looking
at one image only: illusion of motion
In this way my eyes hold you,
frame to frame to frame
Create their own illusion,
fill you in
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
It’s about the slow dismantling
of hope, the casting aside
It’s about the cost
of that desire
It’s about presence
and absence, having
and not having,
It’s about time and timing,
and death, the ultimate
It’s about standing
at the corner of Myth and Truth,
a dangerous intersection, no light
to count on
It’s about the quicksand
pull of memory, you
on the right side of the bed, your profile
silhouetted in 3 a.m. darkness
It’s about the heart,
brought to its knees–
Eva Tihanyi teaches English at Niagara College in Welland,Ontario, is the literary editor of Niagara Current magazine, and writes occasional book reviews for the Toronto Star. Her fifth book of poetry,The Contagious Language of Fire, is forthcoming from Black Moss Press in 2005.