January 2, 2010

White Fire

To describe how rain touches morning in Iceland—
where St. Christopher often leads travelers
in spring—is to cross the impossible
bridge between water to drink
and water that drowns.

If you’re lonely enough, if you listen,
the wind will convince you, in its human-like
sadness—to open the windows
and let something in.

Watch as it lifts above the ice—
the unforgiving element—white

Remember, you too know something
about snow's passage to water:

how everything trembles when moving
from one form to another—how soon,
it is water that slicks your eye—
each lash burning
to put the fire out.

- Alex Dimitrov

"White Fire" was printed as a broadside, in an edition of 100 by The Center for Book Arts in New York City, in October of 2009. To purchase a broadside click here.

(published in Best New Poets 2009, and diode, Fall 2009 )

The Crucifix

It hung from his neck in a kind and devastating way—
hidden under his shirt and apron, wait staff uniform
then blazer, when he finally found a good desk job.

Walking through the living room after work
he’d slowly loosen the knot of his tie, teasing it
with his fingers and unbuttoning that top button

every man must hate so much.
From there it took him only seconds
until the cotton trailed behind his back,

shirt fully undone, allowing me to notice
the tense drops of sweat which ran down from his armpits,
the stains forming delicate rings around his sleeves.

And when he sat down on the couch
to rest his head back, Adam’s apple
sharply gleaming, palms left open on his thighs—

I’d stare at that gold crucifix which sank so low,
our Jesus buried deep inside his chest hair,
closer to my father than I ever got

and claiming the best part.

- Alex Dimitrov

(published, in a previous version, in Harpur Palate, Volume 8.2, Winter 2009)

American Youth

That first summer my father spent more time
driving to work than he did sleeping,

and my mother wrote postcards all day
to everyone back home, people she never liked,

even they were needed, she said, to pass the time,
to live through the hours we had to fill with

English lessons––every day a new word, then phrases,
and finally sentences that spoke of nothing

no matter how many times they repeated in our ears.
I’d leave the house sometime after lunch

to sit on the sidewalk and imagine
that one of the cars driving by was my father’s.

And everyday there I watched the neighborhood
kids playing, watched them tirelessly until dark,

trading cards with each other, toy guns.
I watched them live out my American youth.

- Alex Dimitrov

(published in Crab Orchard Review, Volume 14, Number 2, Summer/Fall 2009)