Forgetfulness

I tell you I love you
and then I forget it.

I tell you I love you,
but I walk around sieve-brained
and my days sift out of me,
powdered sugar memories
clouding off in the wind
with every step I take.

Today with you happens,
like yesterday with you happened,
and today like yesterday
I try to collect all the sugar of you
in a brown paper bag
and lock it in a safe,
but I forget
the combination to the safe
and I never owned a safe
and I never had any brown paper
and all the precious things
I want to keep safe
fall out into the air.

I tell you I love you.

The air dusts sweet again.

I tell you I love you
and then I forget
the words ever left my lips

so every time
I forget I love you
I tell you again.

— Adam Kamerer


Behind The Scenes

Want to know the story behind this poem? Patrons who pledge $5/month or more get access to behind-the-scenes notes on my poems.

-- Adam Kamerer

Peacing the Dark

Come awake to sunshine,
stretch the sleep off,
step barefoot
into the kitchen garden.

Call hello good morning
to your bottomless black pit.

Laughing play fetch
with your many-toothed wolf.

Offer a fuzzy peach
full of sticky sweet juice
to your writhing shadow.

This bright pretty morning
stroll among blooms and
trill happy nonsense songs
to the great leviathan
submerged beneath your ribs.

Your unsettling never leaves you
but some days it sits light
upon your back.

-- Adam Kamerer

On Bad Apples

If an orchard
produced this much
rotten fruit

they’d cull the trees
with hatchet and flame

grind the stumps to mulch
till the tailings under
and plant something else
in its place.

— Adam Kamerer


Behind The Scenes

Want to know the story behind this poem? Patrons who pledge $5/month or more get access to behind-the-scenes notes on my poems.

-- Adam Kamerer

Pennies from Heaven

I find pennies on the asphalt
and on the hardest days,
now and then, a dime

and once when the world
was falling on itself
the bright disc
of a silver half-dollar.

Every time, I drop the coins
into the palm of your hand
and you drop the coins
into a jar of blue glass
and pay me for my scavenging
with the whisper of a smile.

I have come to require
this secret pleasure so often
my eyes are always at the ground.

-- Adam Kamerer

Beneath the Kudzu

After sixteen episodes
of true crime documentaries,
turn off the television
and then stretch your legs
and go for a walk in the woods.

Stride beside fallen timbers,
beside fern and poison sumac,
skirt the ridgeline
of a gully and a pause:
kudzu spills into a bowl
scooped from the earth.

Feel the shadows tug
your eye to the green hole.
Feel the shadows tug
your foot to the brink.
Teeter and catch yourself
peering for bodies and bone
beneath the kudzu.

Do not hurry past.
The kudzu wants you

to peer beneath it
and even if you do not
find the murdered bones
of a missing life,
you may find the home
of a coal skink
or a kingsnake

or you may find nothing

but your held breath
but your blood in your ears
but yourself
imagining your body
laid down beneath the kudzu.

-- Adam Kamerer

Moats

The rain coming down
has filled up the ditch
at the edge of the yard.

A little more and it will
swallow up the driveway
and separate us
from the world
by a little gulf
of brown rain water.

As a child I used to dig
moats around the castles
I built out of pinecones
and tin cans and pour
pailfuls of water into them.

They never held water:
drought thirsty Alabama dirt
sucked every drop down
and just left muddy damp divots
and I’m pretty sure the ditch
at the edge of the yard
will dry up just the same

but for the moment
I am alone with you
pretending this old house
is a castle overgrown with moss
and the drawbridge is up
so no one can disturb us.

-- Adam Kamerer

Floodgates

I had to teach myself
the shapes of strange floodgates:

the open door that leads
to pine trees and crows,
away from the sound of humans,
and back to the sound of squirrels.

The sizzle and crack
of skillet and fat,
the simple pleasure
of a egg being fried
and laid on toast.
A golden gush of yolk.

The hot flush and rush
of a shower head
pouring buckets onto
skin I haven’t wanted
to wash in days,
of sore gums shocked to mint.

These are floodgates
to trickle down the reservoirs
before the levees crack
and all the gallons and gallons
of me smash out and scour
everything I’ve built away.

-- Adam Kamerer

Asleep Through Storms

This morning starts with downpour.
No gentle bloom of sun beam
through the bedroom window,
no chirrup and warble of bird song.

This morning starts with flash
and thunder, with crash and clamor,
with the great old pine in the yard
groaning in the wind,
but you sleep through it
and I do not.

The room is dark
and the rain drives down
and the shape of your body
twisted in the sheets
is a stillness the world
forgot to keep this morning.

I want you to know this
is how I think of you often:
a moment of rest in deluge,
a moment of peace in cloudburst,
a quiet in the shouting gale.

-- Adam Kamerer