Back to Issue Eleven.

Another Man // Behind Glass



When I watch you through the visor
of your father’s flight helmet
my breath, a scatter plot
of condensation on dark glass
it’s not valor not weaponry
or sky
but the skin smell
of a person held there, working
Wait you say
I’ll take a picture
& I watch you turn from the room

All I think is my head
occupies the space
made for the head of another man
hands on my thighs, thighs in their nylons
there is too much of me inside my life—

 my life the one name for and so on
through the news delivered & news consumed
the language fat with names
for you
my flame, inamorato . . .
I’d thought to be inside
this military thing
the difficult heart of my dress-up
not the sense of trespass
into your father
the man who gave you
the name I use
where there is no word at all
for the cashier sinks her hands into my tote she plants
this sack of rice which is our dinner

for in the middle of a hard sleep the landing pattern pulls
the day’s first plane overhead

for the unread items continued to accumulate, your lips
were chapping & I was

in the middle of my own hard sleep
I say Michael

Allyson Paty‘s poems can be found in Tin House, jubilat, Best New Poets 2012, The Kenyon Review Online, as part of the PEN Poetry Series, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, The Further Away, was published by [sic] Press in 2012. She is from New York, where she is editor of Singing Saw Press.