jeff pearson

Expired, Molting Film

Do all the film cameras need to find
life in dark rooms moving towards dusty display
cases, eventually warping out of an antique?
Like sights of bleached bones, tattered tendons

dissolving where recycling quickens, nurturing pests.
Weaving the likeness of two deteriorating
objects will lead to running up a hill to the lightning-

stricken tree and require the hilt of a camera stand
to prove through gestured holes that what develops
afterward is but a dimension, new and vivid in greyscale:
a moon during the day that avoids camera viewfinders,

allergens that wash off in the park bathroom,
a bright night when he tried to kiss
her while her albino pet mouse crawled
around her shoulder. A misled youth could

but mistake all the mice he ever known
for the Florida Kingsnake’s that liked his
underwear drawer, when his dad had offered
10 dollars to the first kid who found her.

From the late night print shop, he had taken
the girl home to his house in the belly
of winter, where they exhausted all the high
fructose corn syrup of the Coca-cola Classics

she had downed, and so soundly, they lay
in the twin bed hiked up by two mattresses
and a box spring; they became a linear
equation, their slope somewhere unknown,

undefined, but with belts put on, they left
and like the piss stains of the kids who
owned the bed before him, they were bleached
out, left to dry on the porch, sunk in fervor of mischance.

Later, there was a single parent family
who paid him for a security system, because
their Ball Python was stolen during the remake
of old neighborhoods that didn’t work right

for exotic pets smelling of rotten lettuce and
molting sawdust; the part skin shedding
plays may be as unimportant as needing to vacuum
the floor, but with this Iguana, a facet

of his last few months remains as a time
lapse log of transparent scales eventually
crumpling in the corner of the terrarium,
crispy animal shapes, pictionaries of themselves.

Nervous now, the security system installer
holes through the plaster walls, running
wire with a small chain and a magnet,
draped towards a faded outlet cover. He has white

fledglings in his hair, growing up into a man, far away
where pictures from cell phones show his family, the proof
of humidity, and a forest around him, and his tie-dyed t-shirt
blossoming into a newer longing.

As of 2014: Jeff Pearson has been published by Black Rock & Sage, Otis Nebula, a capella zoo, and Heavy Feather Review and has some poems forthcoming in Shampoo. He recently had his first chapbook, Sick Bed, published by Small Text Dreams Press. As a student of the MFA program at University of Idaho, he works with poets Alexandra Teague and Robert Wrigley. He has collaborated with James Lloyd on many zines including legoverleg and The Haunted Fortress.

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