8 lines for the rooftops of the Tennessee Aquarium; 8 lines to a dracaena; 8 lines on “Of Whales in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood; in Sheet-iron; in Stone; in Mountains; in Stars”
8 lines for the rooftops of the Tennessee Aquarium
Leaning pyramids of diamond, scored
with intersecting lines of ash. Monuments
on reserve for the future, crypts for clouds.
The conservation staff use them as turtle nurseries.
At night, they shine electric quartz
to compensate for the stubbing out of stars
by light pollution. When I come back, 500 years from now,
these roofs will be the only thing I recognize.
8 lines to a dracaena
Gem-studded, fat king, dragon of houseplants—
you give me something to look at when the air
is heavy on my shoulders, when all things
swim and glimmer. When my arms tuck in like
fold-out sofa beds. Meanwhile, your corona
of backlit talons, extended as if you were
stretching, yawning. You have no need to question
your right to exist. Whole universes turn on your axle.
8 lines on “Of Whales in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood; in Sheet-iron; in Stone; in Mountains; in Stars”
Whales in mountains, whales in stars—
beluga, humpback, killer, blue.
The mountains and the skies that hold the stars
are oceans, deeper than the pause
that’s been hanging there ever since
you went away. And if you never come back
I’ll be left with the question. What is an unfinished
pause? And the stars. What are they now?
Tyler Dunston is a poet and painter originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Growing up, he spent much of his time both in the south and the northwest, with his family Chattanooga, Tennessee and in Seattle, Washington. After graduating high school, he studied English literature and visual art at Stanford University. Currently, he is completing his MFA in poetry at Boston University.