Commute #2

With smallness; with the ritual scratch
of the aperture, the suctioning force of the wound, 
the day pressed itself into the hours, a glance shot
askew and wrapping against the rocky shore
that breaks the water open like an oil.   

The violas saw against the clatter of the train; I bedevil
the memorandum with sudden regrets; I stand big
over the laminated question; and then
on the street the day-moon slides behind
the nylon fibers of my windbreaker; I watch as

a woman sweeps all her hair to one side
and presses her ear into a stranger’s feeble voice. 
This is the illumination burned, the novel unstopped—
this is the landscape vibrating against a tendered
belief; the estimated body, the contusion of image. 

I have absorbed the commercial blessing: 
sweet, ruinous, enough to push the earth
continuously under. So be it, the traffic grunts, 
while the corner lies flat for the precious minutes
and the heart turns over like a piece of paper.   

RYO YAMAGUCHI is the author of The Refusal of Suitors, published by Noemi Press. His poetry has appeared in journals such as Denver QuarterlyGulf Coast, and Bennington Review, and his book reviews and other critical writings can be found in outlets such as Boston ReviewMichigan Quarterly Review, and Newpages. He lives in Seattle where he works at Wave Books. Please visit him at