Paul Goudarzi-Fry :: “Saturated Ekphrases”


Settle, and blossom out my neck, prickly pear, 
boy of the desert. Only the flowering. Keep your fruit. 
Sand and sagebrush lizard will drink your inner waters. 
Yes, a desert, but the plump body underneath withstands 
what we think of you. What we imagine life to be. 
Open your lips to the gossamer hummingbirds. 
Drink, and be drunk. Bloom, and be marveled at. 
When the body is eaten, only then allow withering. 


I still think they’re too young to hold a cherry like that. 
Still wonder how they would have chosen to go; could’ve 
been me holding them like a cherry in the teeth, just barely, 
just casting shadows of encouragement and half-truths. 
Like a lion. No, an alligator, with a tall and squeak-filled 
hatchling. From a cherry stone, they emerge, eyes closed, 
and stilled—no, poised. A knowing smile of omnivore 
teeth. For what else would I give my life? 


They wriggled out of their eggs and ate everything in sight 
together. They’re eating still. Or perhaps exploring a compound 
hawkweed. We’re all tired; let them regain their strength. 
Aposematism gives them the edge. Don’t you look away. 
And don’t imagine your tongue against those little black claws. 
They’ll tear you open and rest inside, caterpillars forever, soundly 
wriggling and eating and not wondering what they would have 
done if they were merely born butterflies. 


The dickcissel cries in want of want, less sparseness, more 
for a place in the world behind him. He is a juvenile. His 
feet grasp firmly for this flight, although it is not his first time 
warming himself in the summer. What an expanse, what an eye 
that watches with twisting clicks, a warm-up before three direct 
declamations; he can hear his unborn chicks overlaid. And 
pause. He can always fly. Or he can stay here and turn his head 
towards me, uncertainly. But then he twitches. Then he flies.


What’s the use of a kale leaf covering his bedenimed crotch. 
Just out of frame, she might have been laughing. Still, too. 
She held it up as new leaves grow, and his muscles flexed 
outward, veins ridged and golden, far from farmer’s tan border. 
A perfect leaf, honored and embarrassed, above a weeded 
audience. When the wind blew, you could hear the blades 
clapping. Just before, he was so far from Adam. Just now, 
his wife knows the revelation. Her shirt read: Moonchild


Three magpies coax each other in distant croaks, I think, 
or just hopping with authority. The sandstone opens to them 
in a moment of no erosion. Rain’s been gone for four years. 
The canyon diffuses; or is diffused. Three magpies play in 
light shadows. Animal play, a mark of intelligence. On the 
fence, a magpie spoke to me, but his words were too close 
to God. I forget if he joined the three magpies, together as 
they picked the eyes from a doe, fallen from the high plateau. 


You can’t dive in, but the boats may motor through. You can’t 
swim, but there’s nothing around but cicada song today. 
Such an empty sky, but empty as in clean, as in, enough, a 
touch of white clouds to kiss the earth another day. The ring 
of emerald shoulders the pond. Young trees, loud as the wind. 
At night, each bows and drinks with a hidden esophagus. This 
morning shows where the rust-colored shallows vanish and 
give way to the mild threats of nowhere, summer’s nowhere. 


Greatness, in the vapor’s inflorescence, seeding the water as 
if fish could look upwards and envision, with uncertainty, heaven; 
a breathless place that loses all its color when you accept it. 
The setting sun bloomed through that night. We sat in the car 
afterwards and smelled each other’s skin from opposite seats. 
In a parallel season, my body reveals every shade. In this, I honed 
into the perfectly level layers of the earth, what was above earth. 
I painted life over truth.


Paul Goudarzi-Fry is a gay poet and amateur photographer from central New Hampshire. He is a graduate of the Rainier Writing Workshop at PLU, and his poems have appeared in Travesties?! and DarkWinter Lit. His favorite plant is Lavandula angustifolia.