z a c h a r y    s c h o m b u r g

 

The Fire Cycle

Sin and Forgiveness

The Ghost Age

I Found Your Beating Heart Half-Buried




















The Fire Cycle

 

There are trees and they are on fire. There are hummingbirds and they are on fire. There are graves and they are on fire and the things coming out of the graves are on fire. The house you grew up in is on fire. There is a gigantic trebuchet on fire on the edge of a crater and the crater is on fire. There is a complex system of tunnels deep underneath the surface with only one entrance and one exit and the entire system is filled with fire. There is a wooden cage weíre trapped in, too large to see, and it is on fire. There are jaguars on fire. Wolves. Spiders. Wolf-spiders on fire. If there were people. If our fathers were alive. If I could find our daughter. Fire to the edges. Fire in the river beds. Fire between the mattresses of the bed you were born in. Fire in your motherís belly. There is a little boy wearing a fire shirt holding a baby lamb. There is a little girl in a fire skirt asking if she can ride the baby lamb like a horse. There is you on top of me with thighs of fire while a hot red fog hovers in your hair. There is me on top of you wearing a fire shirt and then pulling the fire shirt over my head and tossing it like a fireball through the fog at a new kind of dinosaur. There are meteorites disintegrating in the atmosphere just a few thousand feet above us and tiny fireballs are falling down around us, pooling around us, forming a kind of fire lake which then forms a kind of fire cloud. There is this feeling I get when I am with you. There is our house burning like a star on the hill. There is our dark flickering shadow. There is my hand on fire in your hand on fire, my body on fire above your body on fire. There are tongues of ash. There are rocks on a private and distant uninhabitable planet. There is our whole life ahead of us.

 

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Sin and Forgiveness

 

I am alone on a parade float. My parade float is the only parade float in the parade. When my mouth opens to ask forgiveness a little girl crawls out. She crawls into a house in the woods and grows up in its warm brownish light. All of the people in the world come from my mouth and grow up on the side of the woods where sins are forgiven. Sin and Forgiveness is a perfect system. The Water Cycle is another example. The Water Cycle is perfect.

 

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The Ghost Age

 

When I set the table
I set the table for one.
There is no table.
I spread a white bed sheet
across it and place the dishes.
There is no bed sheet.
There are no dishes.
Though when I sit in the chair
I am sitting in the room
in a chair.
These are the years
known as The Chair Age.

By the time the chair
rots from beneath me
I have carved a set
of beautiful dishes.
When I set the table
the dishes crash to the floor
at my feet
where I stand.
These are the years
known as The Dishes Age

During The Sheet Age
a white bed sheet
seems to take the shape
on the table
but only for a moment
then floats slowly down
to where the broken dishes
always were.

This is the same sheet
you will later pick up
in another age,
cut two tiny holes into,
and become something you
already are.

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I Found Your Beating Heart Half-Buried

 

I found your beating
heart half-buried
in the woods
and when I
picked it up I found
your body around
that heart, warm
and with arms
tight around me.

I tried to show you
the way home
and warn you
about predators
but I had no words
because I had no larynx
and I didnít
even have a thorax.

I didnít have
anything.

And after a long time,
you learned to walk

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ZACHARY SCHOMBURG is the author of a book of poems, The Man Suit (Black Ocean Press, 2007), the co-editor of Octopus, the co-editor of Octopus Books, the co-curator of the The Clean Part Reading Series, and a PhD student at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He is currently working on a second book of poems as well as translations of the Russian-language poet, Gennadii Aigi.