poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

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Sunday, August 19, 2012


I will find something for you to hunt
before you become mine again.

Show me where the fish are now
in my tunnel between the bog and the river, we find

white butterflies wrapped in white spider thread. Oh enormous music,
of the crowded sky, the tides that decide what we lose and long for in daylight.

The song always comes back to the same midnight question:
if I dance for you, what will you kill for me? 

Hunting does not fill the galaxy with constellations.
We are not even stars. We are just eyes and mouths to the silver flash of fish.

Silver like the face of your watch
as the watch makes small music.

What I want is to feed you fish
while slow satellites trace lines across the sky.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Planting Fields

On the Gatsby coast/ there's an outdoor dollhouse
the size of kids. Built by the original owners
of the mansion/ where they would (play?)
send their kids to imagine things/ these days
there are huge dolls in residence. Beyond the words/ there’s a little
house/ sized to fit/ the grief of a child. If I take you
off the list for my birthday party/ does that mean you will never come back?
Teach the children math.
How close is close enough?
Take gold as a parameter.
In Montreal the lines
(either a recursive function call or a loop)
of the old city sparkled like gold out the window of his apartment
(a loop in which the terminating condition is never satisfied)
where we were always above the entire city and never wore pants
and stayed high and burned ourselves. I was his for the asking.
Import math.
The North Shore of Long Island is lined with gold. He asked.
(The homeless man said: “I specialize in problem recognition.
Use previously-solved problems and apply a previously-developed solution.”
No. That’s not what the homeless man said. )
A string is a sequence/ strings are immutable;
lists are mutable/ why didn’t we use a list?
He criticized my syntax
my methods/ my invocations.
If I take you off the list…

The gold coast is littered with old mansions no one lives in anymore
kept for historical value/ saving an old face/ retirees give tours.
He didn’t want to take the tour/ never intended to get old
or to save anything/ so we walked miles of trees in rows/ for hours
as he tried to convince me not to go back  (take love as a parameter)
to college. He took me to the Planting Fields to ask me to marry him;
he proposed just outside of the full sized doll house (take a knee)
and it was clear: that we were the dolls:
I mean, we were the kids/playing. That's why I said no.
The night before he killed himself, he took his mother out to dinner.
The movie he took me to two nights before he died
was called: The Road to Perdition. We ate sushi that night
we lived on Long Island. I called him
that dead morning because I knew
something/ because I didn’t know anything/ because
there was a sink dripping in my heart and I couldn’t turn it off.
When a stranger picked up his phone and I said my name I knew.
Nothing. His little sister called me back/ nothing (take suicide as a parameter)
she said words/ nothing/ I said words/ I said nothing. Maybe I said:
“The North Shore of Long Island is old gold for the asking.”
Or she said: “How close is close enough?”

Today it’s ten years later. Today
there’s a homeless man in the town by the sea
where my husband and I have found a café to do Sunday things.
The homeless man is attracted to my husband
and he says: “Be humble and be kind.
She will worship you for the rest of your life.”
He has no words for me. Maybe he sees himself
in my husband’s frown. The homeless man wears a wool hat
even though it’s August. He calls a cab and it comes,
even though he’s not going anywhere. He gets a cup of coffee for free
and it’s basically a miracle: fishes and loaves from his fingertips.
On the way out of the café he stops
at our table again, to sniff and spread his wings out like a seagull and say:
“We’re all going to heaven, so don’t worry about that.”
We’re all going to heaven. I agree
that we’re stuck
in a loop in which the terminating condition is never satisfied.

Friday, August 10, 2012

There's No One On This Road But Us And The Night

“There’s no one on this road but us and the night,” you say
the bugs are invisible and everywhere: summer.
Winter will naturally debug the kitchen
but tonight I need a drive.

You said your father would drive you around when you were sleepless,
together you’d cruise the night roads of Maine.
I imagine if you were sleeping when you got home, he carried you in,
used his foot to close the door. I imagine the weight of your little boy body

as he placed you in your bed. I believe an idea can have weight before words:
I was with you there, though I wasn’t a body, but a math.
Black and white headshots of old movie stars
somehow always look familiar. It must be an algorithm.

“It’s the clothing my soul wears,” I say, picking at my skin.
On television they are running races.
The code you are looking at is not the code that is running.
On television Gidget is surfing.

Change the station: an anesthetized alligator
goes into the bag like a body bag.
The options are: copy/distribute/modify:
or take me home/ in kind.

In our strange extinction history
we are on the chapter of death: in a rainforest there’s only that one pretty math:

and it goes into the bag like a body bag.
On television they are drowning.

The code you are looking at is not the code that is running.

I can see you sometimes as a little boy, there are ways you turn
and your boy-self flickers on. Hit save.