Ed Pavlic


CALL IT IN THE AIR




Last time I saw you on your feet 
we climbed Mt. Shavano to have lunch 
on the angel’s hip. Year by year step by step you led me 
up past the line where trees grow past
the line where shrubs cling to rocks & you tell 
south by the lichen. I hesitate when my lungs begin
to ache, lose a full step for your every two.
We pass the line where grizzlies plunder
pine cone stores of black cat-eared alpine
squirrels. Empty craters that smell of thin green
air. We’re into the zone of the all too recently disturbed
stones where grizzlies find moths that blow
in off the plains of Kansas and Nebraska
to mate in the rubble beyond the tree line.
I don’t want to know any of this, but I do. You do too
but could give a damn. I’m scared & can’t breathe.
I join the invisible crowd & turn back 
& you’re bears be damned
on all fours now. I sit on a boulder & gasp
for air & I see you get smaller & smaller 
& with each blink I can see					
it clearly. You could care about the glacier
angel up the slope. I remember how
you used to tell me I made you safe because
when kidnappers came they’d take the youngest. 
The boy. Now I’m bigger than you are, so, 
here I am, bait. & there you are
on borrowed time you’re about to give back.
Your liver floating in the numbdark, curled up 
like a peach pit on a hissing
radiator, eyes alight with the flamedark
torch in each pulse. & there you go, 
a slow drip of Patrón & a whiff of nicotine 
for lunch as you search for the line beyond 
which elevation the lungs change 
to birds & you can go on living without any body at all.  



ON THE DAY OF THE NEW POPE WE MEET THE
DEMON SEAMSTER & EXTEMPORANEOUS FACIAL GEOGRAPHER ENAMORED AS WE’VE COME TO
KNOW HIM OF



the snookered silence in his stitches.
The heat in his mouth. His face ripped.
A dive with no splash, said “Last
is the name” & fell coal-blind
in hopeless love with the unbelievable
music. The mystic roar in a thread			
thru a needle fine as a hair 
off the head of a split hair. A symphony 
quiet as smoke from the skin-sieve
hidden inside his dumb, 
long-dormant nipples. Vilified  
			& dangling.
“Everyone’s seen an eye swallow, the flash
of a sword.” He holds the thread up, 
the needle’s invisible, a point of light tickles his open
eye. Each inhale beyond bitterness.

Each breath a pendulum 

of fine smiles & red clouds spill
across, bald as a 3-ball in the pair
of open white skulls, a wink
of the fucking rose-tinted window
in his face. Said it skyward, Nicholas King 
sketched his cheek’s border, 
“what’s now Concordia Parish.” Find it 
engraved, Shallus, 1806. 
His oath : forget what’s beyond simple logic
in his truce with spiders : take any
corner of the globe & turn over the ornate
stockpiles, the uncounted millions, 
bent flutes carved by the invisible. 
	Finger holes fit for fleas & fang-dangle.
There he is in stitches, gloveless, a wrist
cuffed, briefly, to the anchor & dead in the middle

of a breath on the pane, a gut-stroke in a lip-shorn lake