THE BED IS A STILL LIFE OF FLYING

Spring 2007: Issue 81

Leigh Anne Couch

She’s driving her bed through an illustrated town,

and the road snaps off like a pencil:

they hover, the bed and the girl in the covers,

and rise into a still life of sweeping through towers

 

and steeples, their shimmering wake like spun sugar.

Even the old daisies turn up.

Fumbling for something to steer by, slow,

or stop with, she’s already falling, shredding

 

the air, the pull on her grave and enormous,

a snug emptiness down there feels like

a still life made for her. The bed

is a still life of pitching seas or dun water

 

just before the wake, still life of ardor unwaning,

still life of waning, still life of driving off bridges

in middle Tennessee, of every long shot at every

dartboard behind greasy doorknobs.

 

The bed is a still life of misunderstanding,

her head pulled back so the face slides off

into the dark between mattress and wall.

Still life of morning and scattershot sounds

 

of hundreds on the boardwalk. She’s the child

shouting stop, stop, covering her ears to the careless

pounding up and down the pier, to boards straining

the tired frame. Still life, the body,

 

dense as an anvil tipped out of clouds.

Still life, light as a feather, a feather, she thinks,

going under again. Crickets work their music

through rain. The bed is a still life

 

of rain, six days and nights unceasing,

still life of floods creeping through soy fields,

water through velvet, violent water,

the sea means no harm and neither does he,

 

this next, other, last one, but she’s

a split hull in the bean field,

shallow breathing is still life

being opened like wooden fruit,

 

being stars inside. The way blue

comes out of his eyes, she’d say

he was a still life of sky,

the way sleeping is a still life of dying,

 

the bed is a still life of flying,

while life waits still,

though mightily disheveled,

for her body to return.