Nathaniel Rosenthalis


from Worse Meditations

Seven A.M.


He opens his compact, takes
out a mint, to suck on some air
without this sink and clear water
and can’t. Faucets for the awkward
outside. He was looking out when
he occurred, a tiara floating over the
counter, a woman, and then him,
saying simultaneously, Off with it.
Hairs in the sink. That skimming of
a surface allows some force-to-be to
be. In any facility, he thinks, a sink
can be clogged, and mine’s
bisexual. There is a factor he bends
to called thusness, in bathrooms. A
mirror props up the abandonment of
butterfly clips, that long gorgeous
hair he never had, so can’t put his
hands into to rustle and wear,
walking around for a wind.




Nine A.M.


There’s no place for me
here, he thought, just a tar lake
where some circling fish show off.
Each gold one is flaring like
oranges on a sill. That’s where he is
when he says to himself, Why can’t
I at last own a house? It’s hot: two
slow. He has no watch on and
hopes to never. It’s not from that he
succumbs. The signpost says relief
is a get-quick plan, which he can
only understand indirectly, like
waiting to flick on a light and ask,
How does it feel? He is still outside.
Stillness the house. A light is
residing and then it is crawling. The
ghostfish, he’d thought, is the one
to be. Transparent with a green
streak, it lets itself be touched by
softer rocks.




Five P.M.


Having had no one on him
lately die looks, to him, like this
oversize pond. There are lily pads
some scores of gold and white fish
go in and out of, under a
transparency, like they never didn’t
not do in a weave. Well, he says, I
don’t know that they don’t dream.
No day is like today. The air is
whipping. But nor is any day to be
loomed from forever. He’s not
complaining: a helicopter view of
this says he should be a beam of
sunlight, with which to see, at all,
these fish, and the better to scatter in
eventually among them. He is
already. Inner shade of permanence
is visible in each one, and it is dark.
Directly so, says one oversize pad
whose arm–it is an arm–he was
thinking was a brown eel, but it is
only reaching toward him, with a
motion he mistook for life. For what
else could he do that to.



Nathaniel Rosenthalis is the author of two chapbooks, most recently, A Shirt for Today (Yes Poetry Press). His poems have appeared in Lana Turner, Denver Quarterly, Conjunctions, the Harvard Advocate and elsewhere. He lives and works in New York City.

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