Third Date Pastoral
Not apples. Not their bright red, already ripe with metaphor. Nor pears,
heavy-bottomed and eager to fall to the ground.
Perhaps loquat, I think to myself
as you drive us through ornamental trees lining Johnnie Dodds Boulevard.
you tell me, is the life force.
I pinch my wrist until blood rises to the skin like a kiss.
I am not concerned with the ontology of eros;
I am concerned with those who graft fruit bearing branches to the public
trees of San Francisco. How, by night, they cut
into the bark and insert the finger of a plum tree.
I pinch my wrist as if the more I feel, less exists
while you explain sex to me.
Grafting tip: “Be sure the cut surfaces are touching.”
Perhaps I’ll walk down Van Ness Avenue: incognito, a flower in my hair
and some leafy twig swathed in my pocket.
It isn’t sacred.
It isn’t? Have you read how if you open one tree to another, they become
the same thing?
The things I could do with a paring knife. How readily I could cleave myself
all of this irrelevant.
“Once it heals, it connects,” Hui told the Los Angeles Times.
But you will not know that kind of giving. Not the gentle suckling,
nor the violence.
Erasure from Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke
I received your letter.
It has taken me this long to
forgive. I am traveling
because I need more than most:
some silence, solitude,
an unfamiliar hour.
Six weeks ago, time was still
hot with restlessness. It lay
upon us the weight of homelessness.
sustained by things
There is not more beauty here than in other places.
Objects, which have hands
and no heart, move
into great basins—
large, spacious murmuring.
There are gardens,
Our attention is commanded by the aftersound
of a jet passing overhead.
Of the quiet anole who makes his bed
between the brick and my mailbox.
Of our yesterdays, too—
toward the source of their dispersal.
That I might arrive here
so close to a living,
wild thing: You, next to me, mammal
and unknowable as a forest.
I whisper a wish into the hair on your back.
Joshua Garcia lives and writes in Charleston, South Carolina, where he is pursuing an MFA in poetry at the College of Charleston and is an editorial assistant at Crazyhorse. He was a finalist for the 2019 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize, and his poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Ruminate Magazine, Nashville Review, and My Loves: A Digital Anthology.