“Without sun,” said the young man,
“it means there is no sun,” and then
he held out his hand, as if for me

but not. A word was caught inside
a semicolon in the dictionary
between “to devastate” and “to plague.”

I thought he might point to something
for me—he had that face of slowly
melting snow—but he only

used his hand to flag down a bus.
The first symptom was a spool of thread
at dawn, unraveling behind me

as I walked back to my apartment.
A mass of broken skin, a metaphor,
it circled the definition, the stitches

holding it together more palpable
than membrane. In that city, I learned
to paste my words to one another—

call me—solicitation sewn to the body
of he who waits for a reply, a thousand
paper rectangles—llámame—flapping

up and down the crumbling wall.
At first, the well were careful
to avoid me, to cross the street

when I made eye contact,
but I began to get tangled up in it,
falling over loops of thread.

They came closer, at least
to one another, as if to conduct
the sting of what was wrong in me

inside each other’s pores.
They hung it between their houses,
plucking me nightly

from small openings inside
their barricaded doors. Llámame.
In the dictionary, a word

was catching fire. Didn’t everyone
want to be contagious, to feel the body
opening, again again again?


—Brent Armendinger

Brent Armendinger is the author of two chapbooks of poetry, Undetectable (Diagram/New Michigan Press) and Archipelago (Noemi Press). He received an Avery Hopwood Award from the University of Michigan, and first prize in the Queer International Writing Competition, sponsored by Chroma Journal. His work has appeared in many journals, including Cut Bank, Court Green, Diagram, Fourteen Hills, H_NGM_N, Hayden’s Ferry Review, LIT, Puerto del Sol, and Volt. “Asolar” comes from Los Desconocidos, a project of looking for the meanings of unknown words on the streets of Buenos Aires.

December 2011