C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

THE FIVE HEARTS OF TEXAS

By: Timothy Geiger



I.


Rustic, the way wind

swaggers this prairie,

timothy grass

as a sort of transcendence.

And by grass, I mean

golden fires,

blasted sun

over frayed copper wire,

bugs and linnets,

emerald grasshoppers

swarming,

the glass shells

of every eternal humming thing.


II.


On the sixth day

the armadillo grew

into his shell, took off

his wings for good.


He settled here

because the weather

made a promise

to his claws—

armadillo hands,

new-formed stigmata.


We gave him a name,

little armored one, and stones

the very idea

of being armadillo.


III.


I do not speak Spanish

so, I didn’t know

what the man in line

at the post office wanted.

The only two words

I recognized

were Texas and sea.

I walked away from him

like I disappear

from the blind,

unrecognizable.

I thought he meant

the Gulf of Mexico

instead of saying yes

to Texas.


IV.


Pieces of spaceship

fell from the sky,


and some people

took them home

and some tried

to sell them

on ebay

claiming private

property, claiming

they didn’t know

what they had,

didn’t know that


pieces of spaceship

fell from the sky.


And seven astronauts

were incinerated.

We said heroes,

we said brave,

the first sign

like a comet

returning,

a precursor,

a prophecy, the beginning

of another age where


pieces of spaceship

began falling from the sky.


V.


In the dream of Texas

my father

raised the baby goat.

A cereal bowl

of river water

held to its bottom lip.


I was six years old

we were soaked

on our way home

from fishing

the creek-bed

where my grandfather

held his heart

and became a stone.


We stopped—

the baby goat,

my father, the stone, and I—

to teach me

to tie my shoes

with one hand,

to walk for miles

through the dust

without ever

being recognized.




Timothy Geiger is the author of the poetry collections "Weatherbox" (winner of the 2019 Vern Rutsala Poetry Prize from Cloudbank Books) , "The Curse of Pheromones" (Main Street Rag, 2008) and "Blue Light Factory" (Spoon River Poetry Press, 1999) and ten chapbooks, including the forthcoming "Holler" (APoGee Press 2021). He is also the proprietor of the literary fine-press Aureole Press at the University of Toledo, where he teaches creative writing, poetry, and letterpress printing.


"The Five Hearts of Texas was written over a period of months recalling a long drive through the state on a two-day cross-country trip from California to Ohio. Each section is a flashpoint of memory, the way the mind wanders in and out of the surreal when crossing sleepless miles of highway through prairie and desert. Disappearance figured heavily in my thoughts, both while driving, faceless through the expanse of the state, and while writing. I remember scaring myself, between pit-stops, thinking about everything hidden in the tall grasses, all the bodies and memories buried and forgotten. I remember being relieved when I finally crossed the state-line."