The Movie in Which We Are Drowning

Like a pot of water cooling on the stove,
we eventually reach room temperature. Who knows
what for. The liver grows heavy with holes

grown heavy with pebbles, malignant. Pinhole
camera, little black looking-box. The skin
slips against the weight of the body like a tent

in hard rainfall. None of this is remarkable,
not really, not when you consider the rate
at which steam rises, its molecules seeking out

the cold. Everything wants to be condensed. Focus
a memory, and it shrinks for the aperture. The body
shrivels, laughable. Sad, but not remarkable.

Imagine life as a silent film, true black and white, black
being utter blackness, white like fog in headlights.
Sickly white—a white sink under fluorescent

bulbs. Noisy, buzzing white. The viewer is blind;
he sits too close to the screen. Click-click 
goes the film reel, elliptical. Sad, but not remarkable.

Imagine the water outside has risen, a constant rain
is falling, the leak has sprung. The big one. The floor
of the theater looks solid enough, then rises to meet

the skirts of female viewers, its surface forgiving
as a river. The floor is a river floating popcorn. Here
is your boat; it is reddish-brown, red like a liver.

 
 

Robert Campbell is a poet and academic librarian from Lexington, Kentucky. His poems have appeared in Ninth Letter, Asheville Poetry Review, Menacing Hedge, and elsewhere, and his work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He holds degrees from Berea College and the University of Kentucky, and is currently studying poetry in the MFA program at Murray State University.