Black Lawrence Press
April 16, 2014

National Poetry Month: Caleb Curtiss

Here at Black Lawrence Press we are celebrating National Poetry Month with a poem a day, featuring a total of 30 authors from our list. Today’s featured poet is Caleb Curtiss, author of A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us, which won the Black River Chapbook Competition and will be published by Black Lawrence Press in early 2015.

 

Time Capsule

 
I stopped listening, not wanting a new emergency,
but also, not wanting another old emergency to return.
Not wanting these things to pull me into the air like a body
moored at once to the ocean’s surface like buoy. Not wanting
to be exposed. So like a body of water beneath a storm,
I was afraid of how electricity works—how it could flow

through some perfect, theoretical conduit like a breeze
invisibly pushing itself through a vacuum in space.
And like the redbud trees that had seemed always to be
stilling themselves outside my shared bedroom window,
weeping an adjustment in each sudden absence of wind,
I wanted to be still: to surround myself in a bronzed web

of baby’s breath, to cover myself in the stasis
of weakened verbs: to be transferable.  Or maybe,
I just wanted to be transferred: made into a sack
of bone meal, a pail of sand: to have purpose,
or to give myself some future purpose: a vagary
I could crawl inside of all these years later: a gift

to my adult self: an absence in the center of a memory
where order could exist without space, sisters could not
die and the past is always a red thing floating away from me
like a raft. Like the sea in a storm, I did not know
how I was like a storm.

 

Curtiss Author PhotoCaleb Curtiss’ writing has appeared in New England Review, The Literary Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. He lives in Champaign, Illinois where he teaches high school English, edits poetry for Hobart, and helps organize and curate the Pygmalion Literary Festival.