Leah Falk

I see at last that if I don’t breathe, I breathe.                              —pupil to F.M. Alexander

When the actor’s voice retreated, he stood before the mirror
noting birdlike minutiae of his head and neck:before opening his mouth to recite whether tis nobler
in the mind, the jaw rolled forward like a drawer.Flesh at the nape gathered in pleats, as if a hem preparing
to be pinned, at the breath drawn before a whisper.Maria tells me this as she presses the valley of my back
to keep my walk from breaking into falls. Afteraustralopithecus, rising from our fists, could we end
our argument with gravity?Perhaps with time, I could become one of earth’s
beloved satellites: kept close, but just outsidethe zone of true belonging. But for now, each step’s
a bargain with my feet to take my weight. Maria says,let the ground touch you back.
Years later, her husband becomes one of thosewhose heart loses a bet
just as the mulberries go sick-sweet in late June.Her neighbors call to share their faith
in popular mechanics: God behind the lock-rail,butterfly-made hurricanes. Such drafty comfort, I think,
is no place to sleep out a poor harvest.From my new city where I ride the trains alone,
bridges’ gradual splendor always wrecking me,I watch in the mirror of the moon
as a face unfolds, tries to speak a sentence. No scenery,not even stars behind. The world seems
to lose its voice: on a racetrack’s polyurethanemy limbs arrange themselves in the sign
for mourning. Around me, runners’ muscles knit,unknit. Watch the vertebrae that count themselves
on waking. The pebbles of the wrist. The slow collagen hingesopening the wingspan, moving us across
our only theater.

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Leah Falk’s poems and essays have appeared in FIELD, Blackbird, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. She directs programming at The Writers House at Rutgers University-Camden.


Fall 2018

Oberlin, Ohio

Oberlin College

David Young
David Walker

Associate Editors
Pamela Alexander
Kazim Ali
DeSales Harrison
Lynn Powell

Managing Editor
Marco Wilkinson

Martha Collins

FIELD: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics was founded in 1969 as a periodical devoted to poetry that would combine fresh viewpoints, editorial discrimination, and an attention to the best work being produced in the United States and abroad, regardless of allegiance to schools or categories or reputations. Published twice annually, it provides a forum where poets, eminent and emerging, show each other and those who follow the course of the art what is innovative and most interesting.

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