From Invisible Bride

by Tony Tost

Some folks are unable to talk on the phone in a noisy office or airport while others can make a call from anywhere. Some folks break the phone because they are afraid it will ring. My brother feared the ferry-boat that took us to our summer vacation home; when the horn blew he would throw himself on an imaginary sword. During my lifetime, I’ve mve made at least 200,000 observations. For example, often clouds just disappear.

When women think about abstract concepts like love or death, they use visual images, such as a sliding glass door. For example, a romance must be approached gently for barging forward too quickly may shatter the door. Some women enjoy watching automatic sliding doors for they receive the same feelings of pleasure that occur when they engage in kissing or other, typically romantic, behaviors. My father told me how he gently encourage my mother to tolerate more and more kissing; one evening she was held in a light kiss until her weeping lessened, then she was released.

He sent me a video describing the squeeze machine he’s developing to satisfy his craving for the feeling of being held. “You know,” he says, “not everything has to be touched.”

Some trains go over three hundred miles per hour without ever touching the tracks. Some people insist on wearing pants for they dislike the feeling of their legs touching. Those who cannot tolerate talking can be desensitized through a gentle rubbing about the mouth.

Tony Tost is completing his MFA at the University of Arkansas. His work has appeared in the pages of Fence and Spinning Jenny. Tost also co-edits Octopus, to be launched in August.

Tony Tost’s Invisible Bride was recently selected by C. D. Wright as the winner of the 2003 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. We’re pleased to be able to present three poems from Invisible Bride, two of which were previously published in storySouth, and one new poem from a project Tost calls “Dead Birds.”

Invisible Bride will be published by LSU Press in 2004. In the meantime, you may enjoy more of Tost’s poems elsewhere on the web:

“I Am Not the Pilot” at The Cortland Review
One untitled poem at Canwehaveourballback?
“Twelve Self-Portraits” at Typo Magazine