Meanwhile the Host

The way knights-errant trust demure ingénues
   to remain holed-up within turrets
      or demure ingénues lounging around canopied bedchambers
               trust stone corbels and uncountable joists

the way reason trusts knowledge to mirror reality

sentencing it to the manacled keeps
   and stagnant moats trust the texture
      of light will reveal a winged judgment

the way trumpets trust the embouchure of the unknown
   and timbres are audible to the divine Theremin
      the way my fingernails scrape dead skin from my forearm
               trusting in the incandescence within

and I trust that each divergence
            is almost certainly not unrevealing

the way spotlights frame soloists
   practicing scales in the rafters and trust that each note’s
      a bequest scrawled on insensible parchment
               like a law no one intends

            or itinerant jesters emphatically trust
their courtiers will remove even the semblance of hierarchy
   announcing one afternoon to an orchestra of crickets
      that all faith is due the wailing wood

the way an attic trusts that each subliminal mote
               gestures toward a bureau of hidden transcripts
and thieves trust in each other’s lack of trust
   or else the principle of eternal return,

I trust what hasn’t been foretold,
   since you were a mere premonition
      foreshadowed in frivolous detail
               registered in the snowdrifts of extinguishable memory

which each morning snowplows dispersed
   throughout fields of expectant flesh

and what I wanted I never found in that autumn hanging
      from the doorstop in the foyer’s archway
               when you refused to ask me even once why I’d begun

trusting the machinery
of unconscious desire.

Scott Corbet Riley is a PhD student at UC Santa Cruz, studying US poetry. He has published essays and poems in Berkeley Poetry Review, Rattle, and Landscapes. He holds an MFA from St. Mary’s College and lives in Redwood City, CA.

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