Corey Van Landingham is the author of Antidote (forthcoming from Ohio State University Press), winner of the 2012 Ohio State University Press / The Journal Award in Poetry. She recently completed her MFA at Purdue University, where she was a Poetry Editor for Sycamore Review. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, Best New Poets 2012, Colorado Review, and elsewhere. She will begin a Wallace Stegner Poetry Fellowship at Stanford University in the fall.
for David A. Van Landingham
Summer David. Coastal David. My David of the bag
of weed in the garage. The greasy hair, the Myer’s &
OJ. David without a middle name, David of initials,
the A., which, while on a small beach in Mexico–
mother joked–stood for Arturo. David of the rolling
r’s, the hatred of California, David who stole his
mother’s car and spent a night in jail. Photographer
of nude women not my mother. David of always
running out of gas. My David of the river, god of
oars, the raft its own country and I, princess of deer
and their diseases on the shore. Awestruck David.
Of always mispronouncing Sartre. Sci-fi David, man
with the smile like a slit in the tent. River otters
fed from his hand, David of water creatures. Who
showed me the recoiling of a sea anemone, slightest
prodding. David of failed kidneys. Of affliction,
midnight walker, gesturing out to the driveway,
the ditch trail, waterfall gravid with rain. Please.
The moss-covered rocks. David, the unsteady gait.
David. The hawk flying down to the wrist. Bones
visible through skin, my David. Of translucence. David
untouched. I still don’t know what to do with his hands.
When I said forever I meant vector
from redwing to pullet. I meant quarantine
from a wonderfully complex disease.
When I said yes to the farm I meant fresh
eggs and a stranger’s work. Every promise
a birdlife of receipts for pastry flour
and a house full of empty rooms. Face
to face, I think I loved you. What did you
expect? My hands can rest but they’d rather
be out in the middle of the river, entering
a swift current, alone with the trout. I think
I said this once. When I said it I meant
taxidermy may preserve the body, but it
can never keep the animal still long enough.