The Infinite Tender: Poetry by Bethany Fine

By Bethany Fine


Entry Three

But a midnight, fire eating/en, earth breaking flower

The scent is recently
Expertly executed leaves
And turning earth
In rain

At work: two birds
And rain, and at dissolving the edges
What was never there

How things look against near storms
Finally real
Like like
You asking what
What? What is it like? What is it like
You inside

A spun out satellite
Where out is not
And down is not
And a burst star comes
Swinging lowdown
With the wild wild taste of it burning
Straight through you

I’m the earth, what is it like
I am the four corners game
Of angels in your room

Dressing piece by piece
With stopgaps and
Multicity alarms, clothes tossed lost
Showered to ground at you, enervated,
In flower.

The scent is recently

I finished eating last year’s
Eminent domain tree for
Water striders to dapple sunlight
And no footprints
On the skin of released streams.

(The scent is a dream
of you, fever under stars, I
Dream of you, fever) I,

Maintaining the long clay road,
Filling in the parts eaten
By the king. I,
Last year’s eminent domain
Tree, me Daphneing,
calcified, waiting for that 999th
Year and the godherd resolving overhead,
Waiting out their passing
For safety
Me a bower for two birds, komorebi,
off like shots at a thousand year shudder
Turning creakily
To find you in enervated flower.


Entry Four
After Donne

I loved you like a sermon king when you
Buried your face in the grass and ate
Needing the photosynthesis. Are those
Clay caked feet? and torso at gold
At yellow level
screamer? fists to my face I was inches away watching, all
at rockets
and unfolded streamers.

Stumbling wondering if the darkened trees up the mountain are thinking
or uncontrollable fire. You were in or on or were one, fir –

When you were winter naked and I
Dura lex, sed lex
Desiderata: dura, sed. By what means
You got that

Mouth like the sural pull of a racehorse leg
Razorbills and storm petrels and every sad sack gunner who couldn’t pass the background test
Come peering from your eyes. I’ve asked you to do me
The kindness
of leaving some in their towers.
Let the wretched of the earth pass by instead of showing them your side all night every night, the infinite tender
Fists to the temple. You simply show your hand one two three fingers
Uncurled, streamers, banners, pleading hell nestled, and together we sit on the hall trestle and you point out the little repairs you made today, the escape plan for the older residents, and where the new grass
will go,
while I was out roaming the earth
to and fro.

Bethany Fine is a poet and essayist. Her work has appeared in OMNI Magazine, Folk Horror Revival, and Salvage Quarterly. She lives in Georgia.

garbageCover art is “Garbage Safari” by Christine Stoddard.

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