by Adam Eaglin
It wasn’t a dream, more like a vision,
if vision meant steam rising from
a body, meant heat from the living—
I became the eye of a round-stomached cobbler.
I became a word in a fable. I became
the tongue in the mouth
of a girl. I became limbs like those of trees stripped of bark.
I became a shade of vacant white, like light
lifting from the skin of the sun.
Once I was attractive, once, you could smell it on me
like kerosene, that kind of thing, about to catch fire.
I never used the word beauty except when it was required,
ironically, but then I became the word, a creature transforming
in the moonlight.
Something strange happened then.
A man becomes frightened,
not at what he has done, but what he is about to do;
The wet of grass on skin,
the cold of the night
when you lay your body down.
Once I was attractive, once—
and then I became the night,
and then I became the air.
(“Heat” was originally published in Prick of the Spindle and is reprinted here today with permission from the poet.)
Adam Eaglin was raised in Summerfield, North Carolina, and has degrees from Duke University and Boston University. His poetry and reviews have appeared in Gulf Coast, Publishers Weekly, and the Harvard Review. A recipient of the Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship, he works in publishing in New York City.
Editor’s Note: Adam Eaglin is a master of metaphor. He effortlessly manipulates images to create an Alice in Wonderland-esque world for his readers to slip into as if a rabbit hole. With moments like “if vision meant steam rising from a body, meant heat from the living,” and “The wet of grass on skin, the cold of the night when you lay your body down,” we the readers are taken on a journey into a man’s inner thoughts and experience and into the relationship he inhabits and the transformations that ensue as a result thereof.