To Raimund Hoghe

By what grace

can two men stand

in equal stillness

while each minute

settles like exhaust

when it rises

and drifts

to the edge

of the city.

There is the man

who musters

his snake limbs.

There are the stones

that he shakes

against his chest.

Then you, Raimund.

On what nerve

do you undress

for a crowd.

And with what

can you lie

while you wait

for Snake Limbs

to place his stones

along each ridge

of your spine

as though parting

his child’s hair.

An exchange

between skin

and stone.

Between city

and the minutes

that build it.


between man

and man

and how

without deed or bond

he measures his body

against the ground

where he lays it.

Allyson Paty was raised in New York City, where she continues to live. Her poems have appeared in the publications Tin House, Boxcar Poetry Review, and Low Log, among others. Her collaborations with Danniel Schoonebeek can be found on The Awl and Underwater New York.