Leight

"Restless" and "In the Country of Uncertainty 2" by Peter Leight

Restless

I’m not pointing,

this is just the way I hold my hands with the wrists curved back when I’m not sure what I’m going to use them for.

Sometimes I go upstairs 

in order to come downstairs,

loosening my pants to get started—

I’m not even thinking about free will or the other kind that falls in your lap when you don’t even notice anything,

I believe I’m light enough to leave the ground and heavy enough to come back down,

do you see what I’m saying?

If I’m shivering

it’s only because I’m sitting still—

a standstill arrangement settles nothing,

solves nothing, 

it’s actually a shame,

are we still okay?

My friend thinks it’s better to get rid of the things you’re not happy with, 

together with the ones that aren’t happy with you

Not even hesitating,

when you hesitate people think you don’t care,

or there’s something you’re hiding— 

you’re hiding something you don’t even care about.

How do you know if it’s annoying?

I don’t even need to rest,

if my veins are swollen it’s only because there’s so much stuff in them, 

like a form of bravery—

I’m actually moving around while I’m resting, as if I’m in a different country right next to the country I’m in,

what if you don’t need to be

anywhere at all?

I know it’s selfish, as when you pick up a photo album and the first thing you look for is a picture of yourself,

if you don’t find one 

it’s a shame.

When my friend tells me to calm down

and get some rest,

I have to tell her we need to get going right now,

is it too obvious?

I think I’m light enough to lift myself up and heavy enough to do all the chores, 

as soon as I sit down 

I start moving around—

I often think there isn’t enough happiness for everybody to have some, not in the country we’re in, 

I don’t know what’s the matter with me.

The shame is what you feel 

when you can’t even explain it to yourself.

In the Country of Uncertainty 2

When you look through your hands it’s cut off at the sides, as if your eyes are biting into something,

it’s probably something you haven’t even thought of,

there are probably some things you’re not even thinking about,

when you don’t know what it is is this what they mean by secret offer?

Moving around a lot,

as if it’s only the first domino—

you often mix up the fight and flight signals,

covering your teeth

and uncovering your calves,

touching the tips of one hand to the tips of the other hand, as when you take something apart in order to be able

to put it back together.

You’re not even sure if you’re offering

or being offered—

sometimes you think you don’t understand anything,

I mean nobody understands everything.

What if you’re putting it together like one of those old maps before they knew what the countries looked like?

Before they knew about everything that happened?

Of course when something happens there’s almost always something that isn’t happening at the same time,

it’s probably something you haven’t even thought of,

probably something you’re not even thinking about—

you’re not even sure if you appreciate it

or you don’t appreciate it enough.

How is it going to be fair

when everybody needs something different?

And what about the others,

the ones you don’t know anything about?

In our own lives we’re covering our eyes with our hands,

there are so many things that are unbelievable believing you have the key is the same as letting yourself in,

the same as being inside,

as if you’re putting together a secret offer.

When you put it together it’s easier to think it belongs to you,

otherwise it wouldn’t be what it is.

When you take something apart it’s easier to imagine it belongs to you because it isn’t what it is.

There are a lot of distinctions we’re not even making,

not right now,

as if it’s one of those maps where you’re in more than one country at the same time,

or you’re in the wrong country,

or some other country—

that’s when you take your hands away from your face.
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Peter Leight lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.  He has previously published poems in Paris Review, AGNI, Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, FIELD, and other magazines.