Four Poems

Zoe Contros Kearl

You, Me, & The Devil Make Three

Somewhere before midnight, July 7, on a rooftop—

Fuck your nails are so perfect
cherry cherry red & sharp &

tomorrow in the cold pool at the Turkish & Russian baths
I’ll hold my head under freezing chlorine, bluing

until the death drive kicks in hard,
until I forget the shape of your elven earlobe,
until my mouth tastes of blood.

H saying hey stop fucking
doing that.

They’ve got the best borscht in New York.

Everything about longing is arcane.
Everything about depravity is arcane.

—I was breathing so slow.

Stupid Horse

I ask if you’ll be my Adriana
La Cerva, the Sopranos dame

of my dreams. You say
be my Christopha, not Jackie Jr.

Like I know how to do anything else.
The pine barrens will long

for your body,
I will long for you.

Some nights I long to be
desperately good, but most

I wish for exotic booze,
the florals of a day three bruise.

Pause for a champagne toast
to all that just won’t quit.

Berkeley Heights

I am watching a Vimeo from 2012 of you climbing a tree
in your parents’ backyard in New Jersey.

I am thinking about maybe being nicer
because G is going to.

I am watching another video of you climbing a tree,
this time starting from the roof.

Ardor, Other

Rambling about doric columns like an idiot in the back
of the taxi cab, drunk on cheap beer and platitudes,

from the window I see the trees, all in bloom beneath streetlights.
They are wildly popular, wildly wanted, beloved, these trees.

At home my upstairs neighbor is practicing cello again and I’m
flat against the floor, shoulder blades to wood, eyes trained upward.

Indoors again, again, again.
One thing about obsession is how the specificity, the attention, the ache

can begin to feel aggressively baroque.
The ordinary becoming ornate with the passage of time

and the glamour of want.

A winter spent dreaming of cherry blossoms
of a cello suite played perfectly
just one flight above.
Zoe Contros Kearl is a writer based in New England.