The Home Is Cold to the Touch

Patrick Delorey

Ben Pease

Lamb’s Ear 

Who would ask to host a flourishing 
without end? Could you lift up  
your head, you’d see the rain 
on the secondary parking lot  
and yellowed hill beyond. Mercy  
in the mechanical and the frozen,  
now the sun and two half-drawn
curtains, vacuumed fruit, cup of straws,
and blue plastic lifting to orange  
food. Was that the air of grace  
the cart of trays pulled with it, 
pain dulled through your chest,  
crumpled monument, announcers  
coming through a tinny remote among 
the caretakers and the catheters?     


Lost within the decline  
of his grandmother, Proust  
finds the body to be a sea  
creature “for which our words  
can have no more meaning  
than the sound of the tides, 
and with which we should  
be appalled to find ourselves  
condemned to live.” Strange 
companion beating and rising 
not within us but as us, better
to play a game of make believe
than curse its ill movements:
a hundred painted lines 
turned into a children’s web
—toy cars stuck on yellow,  
last station before the body
pours out like water, bones 
counted and told to relent 
or become marbled clouds.  
A gift of holly grown  full
from a small spray of leaves
and berries next to the bird
feeders in the backyard.


The illusion of one’s train moving  
when in fact another a track over 
is just pulling out—applied to a life 
rolling in reverse—near an empty  
station far from home but near  
a river at rest, obscured in part  
by quiet rows of trees. Is this  
the crawling away to die, body 
shrinking into itself, beyond words 
and sustenance, beyond light
and warmth, casting off time 
as it becomes a closed path:
is this how one bows out
to a new idiom of dust, turning
away from the taste of salt
on the wind? Tired genius 
of the mountain, are you more 
grand now when fractured
and in decline? And in falling off 
is the magic elevated, blurring 
into its stark backdrop, aura
shifting into green apostrophe?

Set Upon 

A small wonder, light 
below the pyramid,  
the practice of sitting  
in a room somehow  
alive, a pamphlet  
on rising: blessed be  
the weight that does  
not floor the bearer  
even if it cannot  
be held above  
in glory.


Bedridden yet
kept from slum- 
ber, a narrow   
counter full  
of summer’s last 
flowers. It’s no  
small thing your  
body  hasn’t  
already crept  
away, folding 
into the linens  
until  there is  
would say she 
couldn’t even  
remember the  
desolating pain, 
mind so rid- 
dled with efflor- 
esence, whose 
voice  holds 
the shape of
an empty  


A shadow of smoke
held by stained glass
and brickwork on an
opposing façade:
the high-noon sun cast
in a downward flare
so the window admits
not a view but a knowledge
of brightness emerging.
A woman with her arms
in her hands adjusts
her weight to one side,
won’t acknowledge
the camera: the light
cannot obscure the ex-
pression on her face
but does well to hide
the freshly sculpted
hydrangea, dough still
rising on the window-
sill, the trail of salt
and its shaker overturned.


Many-petaled flower 
split in half, the pill 
or the paper cup, juice 
or water, the blue 
mantle removed 
took with it a piece 
of who was beneath. 
Shrouded in the quiet 
of turned-off TVs, night 
settled before dinner 
could be pushed away 
untouched: soup  
for another room,  
clock for another time,  
clothes for another self. 
Turn up the music  
of these moments without  
sound, be worn away 
until the last layer 
of shining stone.  

Patrick Delorey

Patrick Delorey is an artist whose work gives form to time-dependent processes. He recently completed an artist residency at Autodesk’s Pier 9 in San Francisco, and is now a member of NEW INC at the New Museum in New York City. More of his work can be seen at He lives in Brooklyn.

Ben Pease

Ben Pease is a board member of the Ruth Stone Foundation and an editor of Monk Books. His first full-length collection of poems, Chateau Wichman, is forthcoming from Big Lucks Books, and more work can be found online at  He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the poet and artist Bianca Stone.