Two Poems by Ray Nayler

Photo Credit: Agkistrodon Piscivorus

Photo Credit: Piscivorus Pictures






We don’t remember. We just look at pictures.
You can tell, because in “memories”
you are looking at the top of your own head,
or from a downward angle to your face.
You, having now become a camera lens,
record this younger self that you’ve escaped,
still moving here in judder and in blur
where someone framed him. Freckles on the hand,
the child hand, marooned among the tract homes,
letting go the string of bright balloon.
Now you drift until you see tar shingles
heated in some long-gone afternoon.
Then, the roofs abstracted to rectangles –
the housing tracts, the summers gone too soon.



One January morning sitting down
to breakfast, ten years out of school,
having thought that I forgot the shape
of where I grew, (at least its fears,
at least its limitations), I felt a fly.
I moved my focus from the window where
the ice-branched walnut stands a city winter.
First, the greenness of the out-of-season
fly, who crawled my index cuticle.
Then, once he droned away, the scrawl of lines:
those cul-de-sacs and access roads – and here,
the scars of freeways through the friction ridges,
the tented arch of tracts, the pocket whorl
of mansions in the hills. The latent town.



Ray Nayler‘s poetry has been published in the Beloit Poetry Journal,  Weave, Juked, Sentence and many other magazines. Ray is a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State. He lives and writes in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

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