Cody Kucker lives in Fairbanks, Alaska where he has recently relocated from Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Along the ledge, Aspens shiver and are flayed into brown boils.
An axe would still them with well conducted shock, but the wind
instead uses slight, sublime slices that embellish monastic aesthetics.
When frost accretes on the leaves, the wind
struggles to move them; stiff indeed, and sharp
against a backdrop of river clogging with ice shards,
their amber edges like an Ulu knife turning
and letting a wedge of sun slide along its blade.
Against a tapestry that’s dimension is dependent upon the winding body
strewn with jewels gleaned from the dipping impetus that brittles them,
the trees, hard as they are beautiful, can do nothing but sway and wave
all the autumn spades of dead ideas that are frozen to their limb tips.
Ideally, they would like to stand forever as so:
shaken free from the weight of their leaves,
safe, silent and pious in the callous cold.
A clinical amanuensis sticks
to specifics by the hospital beds
but notes how the edges of her serifs
embody her subjects’ skeletal bends.
She marks the torsos' change from n’s to u’s
and the joints that quickly turn to Sanskrit
and then simply die (which she mustn’t forget)
soft-eyed in the lamp’s medicinal hues.
She always wanted an imagination,
but wonders how, of all things, she was led
to comparing shapes of letters to the dead,
and at times regrets her collations
out of fear of some grave disrespect;
but often, when she stares at these bodies,
she can’t help recalling the pale prefects
in portraits at the Met; though their bodies
are all garbed and shapeless and albatross
white like the white of paper on these faces,
the vestments and cheeks of priests in places
that would be lost if not painted, lost
and erased by the hush that permeates
around ruins and within these clean curtains
where she watches the creation and certain
end of all the words that she translates.