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Touch Wood

by Albert Mobilio

pillar then pedestal & yes
you want to be saved, not tossed
off, left to wrecks:
wheel’s teeth per inch;
wordage over blood pressure;
speed at which cylinders spin;
or nickels enough to fill
his fist, then hers, then how
many times clenched

makes revolution happen,
revolving doors stop. you start
off already unable,
addled even, by proximity
to this or that bull’s eye, another
glossy page, one more 
instance of giving to get
& what you get is mortal cold
but spit-shined. so being loved

isn’t smart; it’s lincoln logs,
mortise & tenon,
a kind of compulsion, a cabin
with its curl of smoke.
we lay down housed,
our animal griefs
intact inside such labor.


Albert Mobilio is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award. His work has appeared in Harper’s, The Village Voice, Black Clock, BOMB, Tin House, and elsewhere. Books of poetry include Bendable Siege, The Geographics, Me with Animal Towering, and Touch Wood (forthcoming). He is assistant professor of literary studies at The New School’s Eugene Lang College and is co-editor of Bookforum. (5/2010)

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