As if in Heaven
for Amelia X.
My lover has taken my picture: I am standing next
to two bodiless heads floating above the floor. They are
part of a mobile of the many dear departed we don’t know.
They hang from filaments normally you can not see,
and except for the twinkling brass hooks in the tops
of their heads (and the lack of bodies) you would think
they’re as real as I am. One head even looks like me.
It faces the same direction I face, though the eyes look
elsewhere. My beloved has waited a long time for this
moment to align, balancing on her good leg, with no cane,
her camera clutched and trembling in her one good hand,
and the anticipation has left me with a smirk she catches.
Then the head like me, his cheeks a little fuller, his eyes
a little older and filled with the memories of things I may
never see, sets his mouth firmly and continues his long turn
away: just as a heavenly body would in a real heaven.
And the other head, the one I haven’t described at all,
filled with that attracting force all heavenly bodies have,
looks away from all that is mechanical: the camera,
the quick click of what we often capture, and my lover’s
leg brace with its polished steel joints winking in the light;
he looks at me as if all this hanging and turning still hasn’t
let him forget what it was like to walk to and fro, up and
down in the earth, feeling every inch of the body’s pain.
Tim Mayo’s poems and reviews have appeared or will appear in Atlanta Review, Avatar Review, The Brattleboro Reformer, Babel Fruit, 5 AM, Inertia Magazine, Poetry International, Poet Lore, The Worcester Review, Verse Daily, Verse Wisconsin and The Writer’s Almanac. In 2008 Pudding House Publications published his chapbook The Loneliness of Dogs, and his full length collection The Kingdom of Possibilities, a finalist for the 2009 May Swenson Award, was published in 2009 by Mayapple Press. His work has also been recognized by two fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center, and he was recently a finalist for the 2009 Paumanok Award. He is a former member of the Brattleboro Literary Festival and lives in Brattleboro, Vermont, where he substitute teaches in the public schools.