The treed street down from the apartment
          building’s entrance overhung but cheap
isn’t exactly unfamiliar but seems
          unfamiliar the way a body is your own
or someone else’s when your eyes cross
          again and again I enter a tunnel
at the bottom of the block a canyon draining
          the people gone it’s never as cool as
you’d like and no place to sit I think
          I am a cotton ball like rubbing some
thing renders it numb-er or makes a person
          residual nights it’s like nobody
even exists I look at the baby blue tile and
          behind it glimmering rough neighborhoods
I view through my own wall in other
          words marring them it seems too safe
here my own body its ravines its grace
          isn’t urban enough there isn’t some
pathway to a clear pool only this tenuous aerial
          aspect and nobody else around


From many mistakes later those obstructions
          rugs construction dirt overwarm
plane crossing up absolutely tiny and black
          or our eventual departure take on
an overcast seasonless milked factory-made
          despondency but when we actually did live there
there were bright entrances for instance
          the pink sheet my father rolled the fall
leaves up into or some wet space
          squeezed from moss after a quick
snow’s immediate sunned melt an oily
          wonton dividing in my mouth I let
my tongue into each part of it a big map
          proceeds under concerned fingers roads
relentlessly curving toward the furred edge of
          the paper we continue on the flip
side almost beyond me to flatten my thinking or to
          get a car rather than simply smell
it rumbling a mess of airless highways
          breathes into these snake holes

LIZ COUNTRYMAN is Writer in Residence at the University of South Carolina and coeditor of the poetry journal Oversound. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Offing, and elsewhere. Her first collection of poems, A Forest Almost, is forthcoming from Subito Press this fall.