Shane Michael Manieri, “Phimosis”
Today, two new poems by Shane Michael Manieri.
I’ve never seen anything quite like it,
torn by my inability to pull back
the peel. Tugging at the flesh as if it were a cloth,
a silk inner lining, a satin undergarment.
Dismissing it. Eye closing like a setting sun.
Tight. It wouldn’t leave me alone
that robed fruit. Even put it in my mouth,
the way you do a dangling piece of thread,
lips gently pressed, puckered,
as if to remove a stubborn piece
of plastic or a useless price tag from
an unused article. Still, nothing.
No rag or bone could cloak. He said to me
with a look: I’m damaged.
The hallowing truth… it left me
speechless, so I blessed it.
Climb up the tree! he said, as if it were a symbol
I was not yet able to understand.
You must be quiet. Totally quiet.
Grabbing the crosspieces to the top. Myself against the hard wind
that was his breath.
Don’t look down. Look up.
My knees shook. My little hands knotted with sweat.
The crossbeams made of pinewood holding the deck up,
rendered us invisible once we arrived.
Shhhh. —except for the doves cooing, witnessing.
Ten feet. Twenty. Thirty feet high. The weight of what he loved more pressing against
together yet so far apart.
I did not want to be here. I did not want to be him.
Come on! You can do it.
And then the majestic thing. White-throated. I couldn’t count the points.
My father’s blind spot. “Daddy…” I kept calling, waving my hands.
I held my breath. Nobody told me it would be like this.
SHANE MICHAEL MANIERI was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He received a Bachelor of Arts with honors from The New School University. He is the recipient of fellowships from the New York Summer Writers Institute and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He currently lives in New York City where he is working on his first book of poems.