How to Read A Poem Out Loud

Autumn Hayes
Forget the words. Press
your hot cheek to the page and lick
the words goodbye. Wipe your crumbling
hands—smear the back of your neck
with syllables. Inhale
each letter and blow
it out your nose
         Watch the word-vapors cloud,
tower—      e i    e      i
o                     and thread
Stare after them high
and forget the faces,
the white cardboard spirals
waiting, thick-marker-outlined,
         vibrating open
         out there.
They are not yours
                and clothed.
Blind yourself. Let the people
out there slick, slide, slur
into a muddle
of all things not rumbling slantwise
through your ribcage.
         This you own, and this owns you.
All else is spotlight, shadow,
                and paste—
                        halve yourself.
                        Fall. Repeat: fall.
                        in love
                        with you.


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