quartertones to ending and one other poem by jamie lyon





quartertones to ending



it never occurred to me to analyze
the rhetoric of my body against your body.
how could I have known that the standard units of
measurement would not apply—did not—to the length of you
beside me
your head on my throwpillows
your curled spine?

you spoke for me the language of stars and northern
hinterland winters.

I’m sorry I could not settle in them. 


somewhere between the German word for wind
and one last cigarette,
between amateur palmistry and my checked king,
between the reinterpretation of sins and
your refusal to kill spiders,
something in my chest clicked its heels together.


your heart, as we lay twined
like fingers
beat against the place between
my shoulder blades.
if I didn’t move I could feel it
down the length of my body.


it is down to this.
the cold doorknob and
the sound of your leaving. 

geometric dimensioning and tolerancing 

For E, while it’s new 


Your hands could graph this; it would be easy.
They cup my ribcage, my right hip,
    jaw, knees, elbows, wrist wrist. 
They hold the names of bones,
    ilium, ischium, 
and calculate diameters, metacarpal times a radius squared
plus other shapes elsewhere also, a particular triangle, the geometry
of exploration—
the vertices join outward and down, are the points labeled here
or here? 

What tessellations, what symmetry, 
    what axes from scapula to hyoid?
What relationships to be defined, correlative, asymptotic, 
    what planes, 
    what shifts,
    what sine waves? 
        What sleek interpolations? 

Line, datum, gracious cartographer, 
    palms pressed against my vertebrae,
    flush against matrices, 
flush against my palms. 

Jamie Lyon is an instructor of English composition and part-time tornado wrangler. She once shot a hippo in her underwear, and she is still unclear as to why the hippo was wearing her underthings. She believes that water tastes better if you drink it from Mason jars. You should see her impression of a corkscrew.