we’ve no choice but to see, our eyes clicking like jaws:
a pond of black porcelain, thawing;
the browned apple, bruised while on the branch;
that choir of pill bugs, warming itself,
breath by breath, by armored breath.
we wish it were otherwise, this helpless projection, this endowing
of mud with mood; wish these scriptures of tender observation
were not so bent
toward that which enthralls our trailing shades.
in the meantime, look, the hours have sprouted tiny hairs
called seconds, and they take joy in growing long, fierce;
in the end we’ve no voice in the matter, cannot glance back at
the archaic beloved—only a lateral recognition of the stripped
and twisting orchards
growing swiftly on either side—
at the end of every tree’s bare limbs, a glove;
and within each glove, grasped: the leaves.
Peter Gutierrez’s (he/him) writing and art have appeared in numerous journals over the years, and links to his work can be found on Instagram @suddenly.quiet. His collec- tion of stories, From Bad to Worse, is forthcoming from Anxiety Press in the fall of 2023. He lives and works–both terms used loosely–in New Jersey.