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Paul Osgerby

Russian Gulch





Redwoods stand porcupine in posture

carving the erinaceous cliff,


gauzed transparent by mountains of ocean

mist, silhouetting the poor posture you have.


Watching you prick and preen brackens

until they are fractal makes me political.


You think us mountainous.


Fractal and political.


We are merely the hollowing of future cataracts

and invasive selves before we go blind.


Without my glasses, I am clinically blind—

when I kissed your mouth, your face disappeared.


I promise Lasik Eye Surgery is safe,


you wrote me crooked once, as if

walking – stilted – against the undertow.


You will not survive me before you go blind,


I replied, deafening with the rotted silence

that chapped phrases on a page deafen with.





Is that an abalone mask?

Or do you contain a dichotomous key,








I press my wrist against your ribcage to feel

the oar-locked paddle of your pulse.


Shuffling feet to the magnetic meter of our pulse,


tiny particles of marbled sand, broken

glass latch under feet. Knee-locked hitches

in fumbled movement. Bug-eyed,


I searched for something superlative in these gestures.


When finally I shied away, I noticed the whirr

of your movement in trajectories reminding me


that while it rained inside my head today,

your trumpet-spits resonated certain optic nerves.


The insides of my eyes still feel like beaded lanterns

from our favorite manzanita. Coy aren’t I?


God I’m trying.


Today deserves more than our ridiculous

shaking, and you call it dancing.





Rip curls swell and timber revolves,

eroding the ebb

of your streamlined smile.


How I wish I would




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