Ray Osborn

Excerpts from an Untitled Manuscript


On Memory

A light smile as though a joke were cast:
her hair is on a hook which is on a reel,
backed onto reality and its interminable light
peeling back the back of her head and hair
which is layering the presently undone world
with something like the spasm of a word made
for me slowly untwisting her braid up into her brain:
this word for shining light wiped across her mouth.
I’d do this with the energy if I myself, the sun,
could unwind and undo another moment:
for a bathed eternity I sat here with myself
twiddling my half-opened pride:
it might seem like the light would keep her tied to me.



On Life

I am insatiate
for the sunfish
laid out on
the beach
for us to eat.
How could it
have gotten
its scales un-
done by the,
the slightest
mince by hand
working its form
into these two:
a wide-eyed
pulp and a
chrysalis. The
scales are fit,
so perfectly fit,
to shoe
or purse
or left on
like a lit-up
I let a pieceful
near my mouth.
A bit of light
in that.



On Chopin’s Nocturnes

Try something light,,,, he said,,
it’ll never turn out in a good way
if you don’t add a hint of lightness,,
He meant light but I said “Good”
and said,, I’ll try,,,, but still slivers
caught themselves in and around
my corpus like a banal shadow,,,,
and make sure not to use moonlight,
he said,, standing there all clean.



On Aphasia

And still the matter of a firefly
afloat with its upright memory
in this staunch room of mishap.
Misapprehension flits through
adding a tint of penchant for light.



On Being Lost

Have you seen
the other side
of a lake
in your
mind’s eye
when stretched
through the fog?
I have.
The fog,
risen, rode,
cold, permanent,
and groundless,
but not so;
it is still
in my wonder,
now, finding
my maw
too shallow
for its stretch
about my body.