Paradise

by Kate S. Parham

 The sun rises in this house, it is always

rising. There is but one good window,

never draped or boarded, existing

in the kitchen above the basin

 

where a small pale face peers out,

slightly obscured by frosty pane, hazy

breath between tense lips, taut

around parted teeth, wide misty

eyes. Orange globes

 

spring from green triangles, refracted

garden; bright spark forms flash,

darting past pupils – metronome;

a cuckoo clock, noisy birds’ shadows

drifting across the boy’s glass eyes.

“It is always rising,” he says to himself

 

with each breath exhaling muttered

words, glass growing steamier,

smokier from within the house, rising

like heat and melting glass drips down

slow like candle wax, burning slowly,

a ripple each decade; with a ripple

 

of skin each decade upon

the female cheek of flesh beneath

eye socket; two crows’ feet

 

dance the tarantella – metronome,

fluttering in chaotic equilibrium

in courting, in the pond reflection

of obscured pupils of the child-

voyeur. I shouldn’t

 

complain, he thinks, for I live

in Paradise, so they say. Yet,

the birds seem too loud,

the window never seems to cease

its obscurity and rain-fuzz after-

storm effect, never ending,

bringing with it that vacant,

nauseating sense of infinity

that is ironically claustrophobic,

from behind the pane, in the blood-

pumping and bleeding lust

of the sun-house

 

“I have it all.”

Four smoke puffs, tiny fingers

on glass, small footprints

of a snowman, four eskimo kisses.

I am the snowman and the sun

is always rising here, where palms

 

reach for the sky in clumps

and rows and hands provide shade

between light-speckles between

green fingers and thumb,

for the lamb and the ferns. Silence

 

crawls in and out of the boy’s teeth

like lice in strands of hair; ferns feel

contained in their shadow-box

confinement, yet still shimmer

iridescent in that morning’s after-rain

when the sun is always rising. The boy

 

hears moans of earthworms

and women in the ground, smelling

venereal, squirming all alike between

dirt-stained toes, between slippery

skin, tongues, but this can’t be right

 

why do they do this why do

they do this why do they

do this why does she

 

do this? For this is Paradise

and in this house

the sun is always rising.

I am a snowman and I have

glass eyes, the boy realizes.

 

Kate S. Parham is a poet from the South Carolina lowcountry. She has a bachelor’s in English from Berry College and she currently grooms dogs.

Photo credit: Dustin O’Donnell via Flickr, All Creative Commons

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