The Coin Under the Leftmost Sliding Cup

Winner of the 2013 Walrus Poetry Prize

Winner of the 2013 Walrus Poetry Prize

Winner of the 2013 Walrus Poetry Prize

Did you feel the Earth move? That was our Tectonic Dance Party.
The world is a crowded club with all the exits blocked.

I might sound like a goose in an opera gown, but I say again, I love you.
I’m tired of all this thinking at the very top of my lungs.

If only my fingers could keep up! Then the dialogue in my head
Wouldn’t unscroll like a ’30s Screwball in underwater slo-mo.

What if the truth of desire lies in Aesop upside down?
Where the fox’s teeth are the Unattainable, and the grapes full of rationalizations…

I’m not too cool to care, though. Nature and I have a lover’s quarrel.
I adopted the strut of the peacock and the nightingale’s nightgown.

After 15,000 texts, can we say we have a past?
My love for you is e-phemeral, elliptical, ekphrastic…

Love to me was cotton candy: spangle, collapse, tongue grit.
With you, it’s sadness scissored out. Lights on a suspension bridge.

Sport with me. I am the coin under the leftmost sliding cup.
Right, left, double-crossing…There. Now you’re in my pocket.

Cellphone, psalter, cigarette, gun: we like to set fire to our palms.
Rome burns as I photograph flowers or wear them as a bra.

Call it playing with fire. Call it connect-the-dots lightning.
Whenever we run down to the lake, the lake ascends sky mountain.

Streetlight’s an earthbound lunatic, courting June’s too-perfect leaves.
These gardens are a plein-air perfume factory, drunk on their own power.

The Spaceman loved the Gumball Machine (beautiful, beautiful).
But each time he took her by the arm, she lost another sweet eye.

It’s curtains for you, day. Stars eye us from the stage.
Ars longa, vita brevis, kid. Long walk, short pier.

Kateri Lanthier
Kateri Lanthier was awarded the 2013 Walrus Poetry Prize. Her most recent collection is Siren.