My Mouth Paused To Meet Another Mouth, If Only For An Instant

My Mouth Paused To Meet Another Mouth, If Only For An Instant

By: Cultura Colectiva -

Robin Myers is a young poet and translator from New York, currently living in Mexico City. For her, writing a poem is like an itch that comes "sometimes like a line, sometimes an image, sometimes just a nebulous question or concern or juxtaposition". If we can learn something from Myers' work, it's the fact that poetry can help us understand life itself.

My Mouth Paused To Meet Another Mouth, If Only For An Instant 1


There must be something.

If everything

is moving ever faster, there must be

something that isn’t

moving ever faster. Something

if not completely still, then slow

enough to touch.

What does he think of it, the traffic cop

in his hat and yellow vest, motionless, poised exactly

along the middle line

of what he’s trained to stop

when it isn’t stopping: four lanes that only converge

colliding, and otherwise plunge forward like a river to its death,

or like what a river wants and has its way with:

fish, silt, trash, the body of someone who trusted it.

What becomes of the yellow lines

painted down the middle of the road, parallel,

immediately peeling

between tires and pavement.

There must be something that knows how to slow

without stopping; there must be a way

to look straight at it while it’s still moving.

Once, in the mountains, in inadequate footwear,

I lay down with others

on a clean staircase of long, flat stones

that snow had learned to trickle around

as it melted its way down the slopes.

(I’m not sure whether the presence of others

made it slower or faster.)

When I closed my eyes,

the water was the only thing I heard.

(Once, water was the only thing I heard.)

But the water moved fast.

Is there anything that moves forward

without moving forward ever faster—

what is it like for her, the shy opera student poised in the park

to sing, the neon joggers arrowing around her

like lasers. Or for the mango-seller as he peels an infinity of mangos,

slicing slivers from one fruit after another after another

after another. Or for the group of friends

struggling to send up a star-shaped hot air balloon along the freeway

without setting it on fire.

I can think of no way to do it

without setting it on fire, or stopping.

I can think of no way that doesn’t start with once,

even on repeat.

Once, a friend had a hummingbird

fall dead at his feet; he said it was strangely heavy

when he picked it up.

Once, I watched a drunk man lurch across the tracks.

Once, I heard someone drop a glass, which shattered,

during the low, sweet note held so long by the saxophone

that I waited either for him to breathe again

or for his heart to snap.

Once, and again, and again, and again, the moment of nearing my face

to another face as if for the first time,

or for the last—although the nearing

uproots it, opens it up like an orange,

mouth paused to meet the mouth of it,

if only for an instant.

If there is something that knows how to slow down even

when it keeps going and going,

then I’d like to know about it.

What is it

they become, competitive swimmer,

insomniac hacktivist, hungry can-collector, father of a daughter

braiding her own hair before bed—

there must be a way to look at them while they’re still growing,

to see them, water, numbers, hunger, daughter,

somehow, and be unafraid of them

and where they’re going.

Not like the way I waited on a bus, at a stoplight,

in a city both stalled and teeming,

when the pause lingered in a way that felt truly

eternal, or could become eternal—all my longing

surging into the movement denied me,

a frustration nearly erotic

in its helplessness. What I thought, once,


before the bus lurched forward again and carried on towards who knows where

I left it,

because that’s the part I can’t remember,

was I will be here forever, was

I will be here for the rest of my life.


Published in the journal Enizagam, in Amalgama / Conflations (Ediciones Antílope, Mexico), and in Lo demás / Else (Kriller71 Ediciones, Spain; Zindo & Gafuri, Argentina).


Photos by Drew Wilson.