Screen Kiss: Frankenstein
(in memoriam the Westmont Theater, Haddon Twp., NJ)
In the darkened castle
you’re alive, my Monster;
roused by lightning,
hands of sutured
heart tongued in thunder.
Torment, my Monster,
births you headlong
into a world scorched
by kindling hate.
In the lake your reflection
is a broken face,
a drowned flower.
Men pursue you,
my Monster. What flickers
and surges through their blood?
You’ll never appease them.
Already the windmill
is burning around you.
Timbers scourge into flame,
collapse around you,
my Monster, around
your ill-fitting body
unsewn by loss. Black
waters close over you.
Then the lights come up
on the barren moors,
the exile of asphalt and gravel
outside the movie theater.
Terra Nova, where the jade of spruce trees
blankets a slope down to a cove’s blue water.
Why is there so much beauty?
In summer, in a field of sunflowers, among
heads bowed by whorls of seed, countless
goldfinches stitch the air an ecstatic yellow.
Or a conch shell’s glossy involute. Or Messier
3’s clustered diadem. Or songs without words,
soaked in presence. Or an autumnal night—
we sat in a dark car. You traced a heart
on the fogged glass. Your eyes full of light.
Amber. Beauty’s knife neither wounds nor heals.
It cuts free from all anchors, delivers us
to hazard, to the world’s wild, rolling swells.
.Michael Gushue is the co-founder of the heteronymic nanopress Poetry Mutual. His books are Pachinko Mouth (Plan B Press), Conrad (Silver Spoon Press), Gather Down Women (Pudding House Press), and, in collaboration with CL Bledsoe, I Never Promised You A Sea Monkey (Pretzelcoatl Press). He lives in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, D.C.