By Liam Schaeffer   

        I.
It is like an apartment:
the way the twine-thin
centipedes emerge and
enter, each through her/
his crack in the mortar;
the way the slug trails
his slime about, in search
of a vacancy, & warning
the vagrant others
where not to look;
and the way it has been
coated with moss, gradually
greening, gradient evidence
of lifetime – sunlight painting.
And how like an apartment,
it falls to ruin.

              II.
That sad-happiness of time;
the tragic after burden of progress;
and my own mortality:
these are the things that transfix me
to this sandy bank,
as I struggle with my eyes
to draw the answer out
from these wisest of rocks.
I am met with cold stares, and I think
I hear the stifled laughter of a know-it-all,
but it is only the wind.

Where do I go when it all turns to sand?
Will I still be standing here, a lone ventifact
rooted in the children of the children of the children . . .
of these rocks?

            III.
I seem to recall passing
through my childhood
home one night –
windows broken,
doors off hinges,
smells of musk and dampness
in the couch,
old hardwood warped,
tattered curtains,
curling yellow library book pages –
I have not been there in ages.

            IV.
Where will the centipedes go?
  Where will the clover mites go?
                               And the moss?
Into what modest fissures will Prunella
        Vulgaris reach her rootlike fingers?

Where is the water going, so determined?
Where is the slug going, so unworried?

Where will
       – this
          (w)                 all go?


 

Liam is a junior English major at Ithaca College. He has self-designed a complementary liberal arts suite of courses focusing on poetry writing, with a specific aim to broaden his understanding of marginalized and underrepresented demographics in English literary history. As a poet, Liam is fascinated with the problem of representing the emotional and psychological qualities of contemporary society. More broadly, he focuses on issues such as the passage of time, emotional fulfillment, the search for meaning, and individual relationships to larger systems (e.g., communities, the environment), which he sees as central to the human condition.