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Alla Prima

by Adrian Silbernagel



As to what, or who, will deliver you to day.
Decide to climb a fire escape.
No emer­gency emerges—climb it anyway,

And as you mount the final rung lean back
to open and flood your lungs with onyx
oxy­gen: elixir of the half-gods of dawn, even

Over­dose. It is of para­mount impor­tance
here, to not fear abun­dance: the full
moon fondling a harem of androg­y­nous birches

At the out-skirts of town—femme on femme
light— white magic just cast
across the lost field of vision

Like no tomor­row, and oh—the deep breeze
moan­ing through those smooth,
those moon-strewn knees.

It is of para­mount impor­tance to embrace
rep­e­ti­tion, again and again,
the object of pas­sion, and let go

The breath gain­ing speed for speed’s sake,
no—for the sake of the breath—
a wind chime unfreez­ing from the frostbitten

Branch: relearn­ing how to sing
is not rocket sci­ence, nor life sup­port,
whether art or not art, and of the infinite

Mas­ter­works eight appendages can muster
in the hours of entan­gle­ment
when 9–5’s dis­solve into the ambiance

Of ambu­lances, neon, and late-night cafes
become quar­an­tines and safe
houses and pur­ga­to­ries for Johns and Janes,

Janes and Janes, lean­ing into one another
with their backs to the win­dow wherein
The Great Out­doors goes spell-bound as well

As ane­choic, and a fig­ure appears
like a postage stamp
in the upper right hand corner,

And who, if a tree had fallen there,
along the bor­der, would have enveloped
the reverb of each pine cone or acorn

Down to the pin-drop pro­por­tions
of what’s seeded inside them
for whom the sap surges,

Nay, fuels, the bold ques­tions and still
bolder answers. In warm cor­ners
they hud­dle conveniently

With­out rings—to slow aging,
she thinks, and is moved
min­i­mally, and falls

Back, but to sub­tract from the world
the per­sis­tent
lack of snow angels.



Adrian's work has been published in The Atlas Review, The Columbia ReviewRufous City ReviewPainted Bride QuarterlyFruita Pulp, TYPO Magazine, and elsewhere. Visit his website: www.adriansilbernagel.com

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