1. (n.) the space through which light passes
in any optical instrument. An opening that limits
the quantity of light that can enter an object.
Or a tent, a street. At night there are only lanterns.
They line the fairground streets that lead to whirring blaze
of rides and carnival sick-smells on Calle del Infierno.
A man and woman cannot remember how to use words.
Instead they construct images from bent
light, guessing the secrets of lanterns strung above.
They stand apart facing each other, dressed like a flamenco
dancer and nineteenth century Andalusian horseman.
She avoids his gaze by turning toward a girl taking a photo
of the neon green algodón stand. The woman imagines
herself appearing in the photo, grotesque and distorted
in filtered glare. She hates how the man stands beneath the white
string of paper lanterns, face overexposed and ethereal.
He convinces. When she observes his stare and feels the pressure
of his fingers underexposed in tenderness on her skin,
she knows that if he could speak he’d say,
It’s never about what you want.
2. (n.) an open space between
Portions of solid matter. A gap. Or chasm. Orifice. Cleft.
Hole. Abyss. In some Writers of Geometry, the Inclination,
or Leaning of one Right-line towards another, which meet
in a point and make an Angle. A woman stands between towns
on the shore that belongs to no one and contemplates her will.
February wind howls until ears ring raw and sting, then disfigures
the dunes until right-lines and wrong-lines lean everywhere. Cold
white sand rises in particle clouds that link solid walls with nothing.
Nearby, a man fly-fishes. His uncertain flicks measure the depth
of field with nylon line. He rarely hooks a fish. When he does,
they are choked by plastic soda rings. The woman examines
what the fisherman does not want. Decayed driftwood.
Fish with empty eyes and harsh mouths, bellies hardened by salt.
Sometimes, algal blooms wash up like fringes of ripped sun
on water. Or, illusory halos around a source. Chromatic aberrations.
No light reaches the abyssal zone. All creatures stare back at the woman,
as if through the pinhole mouth of a mollusk shell.
Kathyrn Haemmerle holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and creative writing from Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana. She now resides in Boston. The two poems published here are from her collection Aperture.