Sam Meizlish is a soon-to-be graduate of Oberlin College, where he studied philosophy.
He was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he currently lives, but he has designs
on a big move to almost anywhere else in the near future—prospects include Pittsburgh,
Chicago, and Medellín.
These tokens are accounted and the meaning between us we
augur jointly and without speaking. But it is neither of us lets them
fall, roll off the table. It is by this "neither" we imagine, this nothing
that we mean by "let": the countless ways we might've intercepted
things as they fell. Suddenly
suspended, I'd like here to just—"if you love, let"—
to strip to its skeleton a hackneyed saying it bears not repeating,
saying it slightly less than once, and by turns to let the
something flesh fall graceless from the bone of it: to strike
the object out, to mystify the action in a saying, to try, reclaim
unsaying from the nether.
Still, the old augur in my bones wants something to have done
this, something to have dropped and brought low meaning
full to this otherwise nothing, to have it unmade with
the care only nothing can provide. With one hand to cut down
and one to divine, and both thrown up in a universal gesture of.
Each take turns in arranging, the measure and dose. Which has
the better part in it, saying something like "your mule deer legs?"
"Each hand washes the other." They say something like that too,
and somewhere between the first time and this last one, its meaning
doubled back into nothing. What could the sound be of the one
hand washing itself? Impossible but not to say or imagine, and free still
to plait the husks of some two sayings in this undetermined way. With
room to spare for a third. There's the cleanly rub, the salve and purifying
friction of it. This is the abridged form. As is slightly less often said
and they both wash the face. It is our shared duty to remember what
this could have meant in the first, before we all appeared to know it.
I watch as my hands make something of your legs, said,
I think, because of a thing I saw once out in Utah: a dauntless
fourlegged thing eating apricots fallen from the trees outside
our campground. My hands, lacking the credentials to fashion
them: mule deer, your legs, but there they go anyway, and
by the very same stroke too. How my memory carries
on untutored, placing and replacing itself.
This animal was so accustomed to our being, but still
unrevealed in the words hewn from underneath it. There are
little cages on long poles to strip the fruit from the branches. On a
post by the trees, there's a box and scale: donations unsupervised
like everything else. A snake in the storm drain and calling for
the ranger, oh save it from itself, as we look on astonished.
Still I remember the salt and leather in your voice though
now I'm skipping quite ahead. Or rather, I remember your
voice, and glove it now with the leather and salt because it
fits and just because, without cutting from the whole cloth
or taking measurements, your voice saying nothing in particular.
(A lie—what sticks, to my shame, is "frivolous girl," in the
withering tone you reserve for greatest disavowal.)
Just because in the fogged glass of this my hand
and yours need words to touch. My voice and hands, your
small hands and voice, washing each one another again,
with I think now a touch of honey in it too.
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