Okay so I’d buried her body in a shallow grave and told mom we couldn’t go back to the cabin because I’d never fed the dog & let it die but it was the woman. And had struck her. With shovel maybe. A tussle. Thinking you know when you molest a child you really molest a whole damn lineage. My mother says malaise. Says dredging. No, I do. Go burying bodies. Run the risk of defining our dead by their shoveling. Moment of impact. My brother flies over what he saw, swoop, dip, takes off into the sun. A backyard that sprawls out behind us. On the couch, it’s skeletal trees. I see her uprooted rest in aerial. High perch of the mind’s eye. My father is naming names. Takes the shovel and swings at the earth. In my grandfather’s memoir there aren’t many clues as to why it’d be a document written from backyard. A freshly tilled pit of peat moss and rehab. One has to wonder— Catholics, you know, but then I become my father. Projecting shovels into trees, as if a knot were a hand. Could hold, lift. Could’ve killed her. Naw, was me. For certain. Without provocation. Homo great-uncle who drowned in a puddle is barely a trace in the text. Pools at the foot of her post-shovel hillage. Or was it pre. Always the question, always the movement, cutting both ways as it wicks away phloem from the base of the tree.
One Way to Do It
She tells me that one way to do it is to get a long rope, from home depot presumably, ‘cause it’s nice to be gay there, and every time you knot it you say the intention you’ve so intended to set and by the end of your rope, you’re there, committed to the landscape of which loss made a lightning field, now in your tether.
I toss him a line—I say, I like to party, too, and K says he’s always been envious of people who can party without it ruining their life or maybe an operative word is restructuring. Can’t disentangle the women from the drugs, and I say, same, even though, not same. We both well know not same.
It’s just the drugs reap an openness, like lassoed straight to the heart of the matter, he says. Why do we want to go straight to the heart, K? What good has it really done us, anyway. Spend however many months trying to dislodge knot from throat ‘cause we thought we could get there quicker.
If a spell is intention cast into the coarse horse hair-like common pulled taut, where does that leave patience, and our wills that four out of five psychs would likely agree are unfreed by compulsion? My father once rope-bridged an active volcano in ashen attempt to salvage dead love.
Lost his mind for a while. Which he’d carried in pounds, it’d seem. Our bodies snitching on us only half the time. I want to give it all away and be one split-end in a knot of intention. Eat fresh fruit like its a cure for loving being thumbed open. Run out of answers and keep climbing ‘til I ring the bell.
Tyler Morse lives in Brooklyn. Her writing can be found in Blunderbuss, The Hunger Journal, Swaddled with Ease (Bermuda Triangle Press) & zines (& forthcoming in the Sinister Wisdom Lesbian Herstory Archives special issue).
Candle light is not too poetic to mention in a poem if we say the light slicks across our faces like mud butt.
The candle light slicked across our faces like mud butt. If I’d have known that was the last time I’d see his face lit at night I might have paid attention to the tall shadows. Cast, like a line. Catching connection.
Track 8: “Heartbeats” by the Knife (or honestly the Jose Gonzales cover but I’m a sucker for Karen Dreijer). Am I the only one who thinks this song is about atheism? Focus on the part where she sings that calling on hands from above for stability, to “lean on,” isn’t good enough for her. Hands of above? No, I need the hands right in front. Maybe the hands under. Hands around. But not hands of above. Prayer never helped nobody do nothing.
The ancestors say, sit up straight.
He “did” sales. Spent our dates polishing the poop chute of his attributes. I’m a people person he said over soggy vinegar and mayo fish n chips. Sales is about being a good listener, he’d coo into my ear after he picked my napkin off the floor and glossed it across my lap. I think… I think my worst quality is that I’m too real, I speak my mind too much, he said unprompted. He was like 6’5. His arms
VICTIMS OF GANG VIOLENCE IN EL SALVADOR HAVE THEIR CHILDREN TORN AWAY AT THE BORDER
made me want to throw myself down a flight of stairs. Touch crazed, I’d burrow into bed, my mind alive with whatever the word is when you can’t olive oil NO—when you and sleep are like oil and water. I’d burrow into bed, calmed by even the idea of him around me, calmed so completely that all my sighs came out in shudders and pies. But the days and weeks wore without momentum. We drive to the light- house Mimosa flute bodies clink cheers salud Then he drove me home. Drop off the same time every night Arms stay an idea. His arms abstract. So I
go Lighting the horizon line like always. A season used to be an authority figure but now I can get tomatoes anytime of the year
Track 11: “Ready for the Floor” by Hot Chip. I’ll have to ask Dr. John if this counts as a Freudian slip, but I always thought the song was like, “open up, we’re tall!” And I was like f yeah! Don’t be a wallflower, come smooch me or whatever cos we’re both tall! But apparently it’s “open up with talk” which okay fine dialogue or whatever. Also I love myself a micro changing chorus. “Ready for the Floor” as in of course dance floor or whatever, in the context of the chorus ready to talk ready for dialogue, but when it switches to “ready for a fall” I kind of turn into a Pisces. I… fall… to Pisces? Sorry, Patsy Cline’s zombie is like rolling around in its grave rn I’ll see myself out
Tommy “Teebs” Pico is an indigenous American poet and screenwriter who hates going to gay bars alone because he gets annoyed when people talk to him and offended when they don’t. He is single and actively mingling. These two statements have nothing to do with each other.
Everyone seemed stuck or silenced that summer, nobody’s T-shirt with the right slogan, the news shifting so fast, you couldn’t keep up with the latest outrage, & one person’s outrage
was another’s fact, & did you know any couples who weren’t fighting or divorcing, or confused over the kids, the economy, the government? Vulnerable was a word I heard
in the grocery store as well as on the beach. Wild was a word I heard used as a positive & a negative. I agreed with everyone. When Bernard said there is no such thing
as morality out of context, I had to forgive him because I knew he’d be the last to leave the party, would cry in my driveway, was sorry for all the pain he’d caused
people he loved, didn’t know how it had happened, but that it wasn’t his fault; he was hostage to the gender constructs of his time. Many of us wished for a way to talk
about these things. Most everyone had some private grief; me, too couldn’t sustain its slogan power because everyone had a version if you were willing to listen. A lot of men
got taken down. A lot of women felt ashamed for liking men. Did any of us know what was happening? Whenever possible I told people they were beautiful—in their bodies, their cages
of mind, under their habits of behavior—even in the licks of fear behind their corneas, something fluttering, a grace, maybe mercy, morally unambiguous. Bernard, I said, I love you out of context,
& if I say now that I almost meant it, meaning I want to be just a bit ironic, know instead that I am lying: I did mean it. I really did. Even if someone else might think that’s wrong
of me. Some days I think all I am capable of is putting my hand on someone’s chest or shoulder, feeling the ridge of rib bone or clavicle against my palm, steadying myself there & giving a fee
to the ferryman’s heart inside, wondering if we all are trying to escape from the shore of ourselves to whatever waits on the other side, feeling we have to help each other,
but knowing nothing, not even the forces to which I was pledged as hostage before I was born & still act out like the dumb beautiful beast I am occasionally thrilled to be.
Laura McCullough‘s most recent collection of poetry is THE WILD NIGHT DRESS, selected by Billy Collins in the University of Arkansas Press Miller Williams Poetry Prize. Her other books are with Alice James Books and Black Lawrence Press, and she’s edited two anthologies of essays on poetry, A Sense of Regard: essays on poetry and race, University of Georgia Press, and The Room and the World, essays on the poet Stephen Dunn, Syracuse University Press.
Stella Santamaría is a Latina Poet that lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Stella is the author of In Between Spaces-Miami, and she has poems in Cathexis Northwest Press, Pennsylvania English, The Bohemian, and forthcoming in Juked. Currently, she is pursuing an MFA in Poetry at Saint Mary’s College of California.
“AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE THERE WAS SOMETHING VERY VERY WRONG?”: A Review of Andrea Abi-Karam’s EXTRATRANSMISSION
Andrea Abi-Karam’s debut poetry collection, EXTRATRANSMISSION (Kelsey Street Press, 2019), takes on military exploitation of human and animal bodies, the scourge of bro culture, and the Uber-fication of urban space. Their forceful, often capslocked lines pursue a “poetry of directness” in opposition to the pervasive, unrippling “language of avoidance” that smooths over everyday potentials for confrontation.
The book’s opening section, KILL BRO / KILL COP, breaks into a torrent of directives to “kill the sociality that makes queers feel excluded and that makes the orgy feel dangerous for our bodies” and “kill all the power dynamics in the white room,” dispelling any notion that coexistence with power could be sufficient. There are juicy fantasies of retaliatory violence (think eardrums and “thick wet silence”), and the imperative to “kill the bro in your head.” Even in the imaginative space of slicing off non-tipping tech bros’ fingers with their platinum credit cards, these poems recognize that reconditioning ourselves after a lifetime under whitecisheteropatriarchy is an ongoing project.
Likewise, excising abuse and trauma from the mind-body isn’t an instant fix. Abi-Karam uses repetition and polyvocality to move between contexts of contested embodiment. For one, when asking what an Oakland trans punk and a brain-damaged U.S. soldier home from deployment in an unnamed desert have in common, they answer by way of the cyborg.
For the soldier, who integrates with a personal digital assistant to access her memories, being cyborg is an adaptation to the state of unresolvable injury. Hers is a vulnerability of the body in service of violent nationalism:
every body is consumable. every american body is consumable. there’s a whole country back home to manufacture more willing bodies for the volunteer based army. a country that sometimes agrees to relax its borders in ex-change for the combat ready body. for the soft skin that caves in from every bit of shrapnel. for the soft skull that splits on impact. for the soft brain that bounces back and forth inside the skull. for the soft brain that tears & swells. for the soft brain that after the tears & swells still turns the body back on. still serves.
Later, a stream of error messages repeating “IS THIS WHAT U SIGNED UP FOR?” adds to this emphasis on bodily service. In constructions like this, Abi-Karam gets at the problem of individual agency in global conflict and imperialism through the figure of a soldier whose body and brain have been transformed and traumatized by her decision to enlist.
Agency and the primacy of the body have different troubles for the trans cyborg. The tech inside them feels invasive, but since they can’t remember its installation, it seems to have always been there.
WHICH CAME FIRST THE INJURY OR THE TECH? THE INJURY IT’S ALWAYS THE INJURY
For some of us, the injury might be having a body at all.
It’s not hard to see why the figure of the cyborg should resonate for many trans people. With its potentials for biohacking, cyborg embodiment offers control and self-determination we’ve never had. The cyborg collective also holds appeal as an outlet for the drive to escape the self when our own wrongly-situated, individualized positions are too much to stand.
In the FUSION section, Abi-Karam’s trans cyborg enacts these conflicting desires: to claim bodily autonomy, unplug and deintegrate, but also to lose their personhood. In a movement describing a wire-removal body mod, words jolt apart, “hap pen”ing, as the speaker becomes “one malf(x)ing cyborg among many.” This is a search for language that will change the way they inhabit their body and relate to others. As the soldier said of being mentally enmeshed with her PDA, “there is no pleasure in this language. in this flatness.” Pleasure comes instead from rupture:
I AM TRYING TO THINK ABOUT BODY AUTONOMY
I AM TRYING TO GET OFF
I AM TRYING TO SHORT OUT
Of Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto, Jackie Orr writes,“The cyborg is an imploded object of ‘non-optional’ entanglements and architectured intimacy.” Removing the wet, glistening wires from your body doesn’t entirely disentangle you from that architecture, but it is an expression of personal purpose in structures that most often dictate how things are going to go for us and our bodies.
A cyborg, like any body, can be processed through the framework of assemblage, made up of parts that cohere variously, unfixed in their potentials and categorizations. Jasbir Puar (one of EXTRATRANSMISSION’s blurbers) explains that “societies of control apprehend and produce bodies as information,” but “assemblages do not privilege bodies as human, nor as residing within a human/animal binary.” Triangulating the body in machine, nature, and humanity, the assemblage positions us as inseparable from the technology we rely on, and just as animal as we are human.
Turning to the animal, Abi-Karam connects the soldier’s PTSD hypervigilance to horses sleeping upright, always ready to go. The non-profit therapy horse assigned to her is another of the book’s speakers. Looking at their human companion, they see that “we are haunted by the possibility of the future.” Both are stuck in a repeating but hardly remembered past, lives delineated by the expectations of others. Like the cyborgs, the horse wants to go “beyond this one type of experience / we always share together.” Here, change would mean leaving the confining world of federally-mediated recovery together.
It’s rarely simple to pick and go. After unplugging, one of the cyborgs comes to a building under construction, where they meet a wandering fawn. An inversion of the cyborg stripping their tech, the fawn marks a destabilizing shift from the natural to the unnatural, lost in a city of gentrification-in-progress. The fawn’s hooves splitting on pavement feel like a provocation—Abi-Karam asking, “You thought we could just go back to nature?”
To squat in the almost-unclaimed means inhabiting the impermanent, where “plastick” around buildings is transitional, protective but permeable. But when space becoming “something” means becoming Uber HQ, “downtown is totally fucked.” What do we do when our cities are becoming more unlivable by the minute? The unplugged cyborg is lying in the unfinished building with the worn-down fawn, imagining social, connective uses for the space. By the next day, it’s over. The fawn is gone, and “i am on the sidewalk looking up @ the whole nation looking down.” Having opened with bro-killings and ended with displacement, there’s something of a comedown, from the fervor of revenge fantasy to the sobering reality that, in making the world we need, we still have to head somewhere next. EXTRANSMISSION gives us tools, the orgy and the wirecutter, to take with us.
Andrea Abi-Karam is an arab-american genderqueer punk poet-performer cyborg, writing on the art of killing bros, the intricacies of cyborg bodies, trauma & delayed healing. Their chapbook, THE AFTERMATH (Commune Editions, 2016), attempts to queer Fanon’s vision of how poetry fails to inspire revolution. Simone White selected Andrea’s second assemblage Villainy for forthcoming publication with Les Figues. They toured with Sister Spit March 2018 & are hype to live in New York. EXTRATRANSMISSION is their first book.
Charles Theonia is a poet from Brooklyn, where they are working to externalize interior femme landscapes. They are the author of art book Saw Palmettos (Container, 2018) and poetry collection Which One Is the Bridge (Topside Press, 2015). With ray ferreira and Abigail Lloyd, they coedit Femmescapes, a magazine of queer and trans affinities with femmeness.
The street ends in a dead end, a space removed. Air currents flow around it. Fading gravity. You, inside, at least in theory. It takes a lot of bulbs to light the world.
I arrived before too early. I remember your birthmark. Now it’s no longer too late.Symptoms reemerge. They all agree: you grow daily.
A dry leaf on my porch makes more noise than a jackhammer.I blame myself. You are exemplary, like the brightest of recent stars. I won’t disclose my unimportant identity.
My mind a kaleidoscope. Matter emerges into being: grass blades from granite, muscled fingers at the ends of iron bars, each fence shivering with finger-twisting. As if there ever were another way.So many lives to revisit as the leaf descends.
You’ve never understood why air is so attracted to you, its molecules insistent like children. They never seem to leave you alone. My empty space where you were. I’m still trying to answer that question you asked years ago.
When I burn out, who will replace me? You are more intended than real. They all agree: you are a puzzle. You grow in my memory. You are here.
You are particular, subatomic, defined by contrast, steeped in absence. You mentioned fireflies. They all agree: your eyes are brighter than the space around them, each iris a path into a distinct afterlife. Did you really mean it that way? I remember that birthmark shaped like a question on your shoulder.
I turn the steering wheel 360 degrees. You defy gravity, you defy the lack of gravity. Now I understand a straight line.I will lie to you often in this account. We hold concepts in our hands like rusty weapons as our children gather dust.
You are not what some think you are, nor what I imagine. When my life was empty, I planted question marks along my path.I wish you noticed. Centuries smile at my attempts to summarize you. Now that leaves have arrived, I can’t remember my questions. At a lost street crossing, you wait for yourself.
You move, quintessential, unlike most of us. You let the street go where it wants. The missing space floats, a memory in its own right. A bulb in the ground turns into light on its own terms.I open the window so I may see you, some day. Your eyes are brighter than mine. The birthmark on your shoulder. They all agree: you grow out of everything while I creep in cracks between better things.
Born in Russia, A. Molotkov moved to the US in 1990 and switched to writing in English in 1993. His poetry collections are The Catalog of Broken Things, Application of Shadows and Synonyms for Silence (Acre Books/Cincinnati Review, 2019). He co-edits The Inflectionist Review. Please visit him at AMolotkov.com.
to stay clean. hygiene is monetized
farce. a trick to keep soap & rehab
& the church & conscience
& your silence in business.
i scrub my own tongue hard to a
a bad childhood stuttering cannot be blamed.
mother says the pen is a better
tongue: a tongue that can undo its self.
but mother’s memory is a compromised
darkroom. i cannot take words
there. forgive me. i cannot
be discovered by the scrubbing.
the shame is in discovery.
i stay clean by staying here
in the small containment of silence.
forgive me that i have flat foot for
a bad handwriting. that my skin is
often too black for a scrub.
most days i stay out of my skin
& tether to the ground
when i think of misapplied qualifiers
black is the only word on the list:
the only excerpt on the lips of a
black tyres, black night, black swan,
blacklight, black devil, black death,
a black hole
i wrap lots of English on my
tongue hoping for
this dark hole to glitter
like the first spark of creation
every fortnight in the village
school the pupils polish
the board to a matte black
cloud, ready it for
riding on a storm
everything looks good on me
save black grief. where did you dump
your colour manners,
O-Jeremiah Agbaakin holds a law degree from the University of Ibadan. His works recently appeared on OBSIDIAN, Sierra Nevada Review, StepAway, Riddled with Arrows, and elsewhere. He has received a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net nominations.
I wore an armor made of lingerie
I thought I wanted to be read
sonnets but really I wanted to read
I wanted myself my private thoughts
without those little arts of popularity
my comb of anger
its red-handled virgin
broad stippled into my femme regime
pedigree and fronting
I hemmed my hemming
I lied when I said I did it
all night took vagaries of woe
across the day tough and soft
in silk buttoned button downs
with my leaked pen I drew on myself
outlining my eyes
my lips w/ grace
less halting and favor
the day again began its double majesty
with salt rimming the sun
of yesterday while on high
field lilies a sour chorus
singing without tongues
singing in the stained room
its inscrutable liturgy gestured toward
me my many faults ripped green
of goodwill for clothes
that daily light new and old
Katherine Gibbel grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Her writing has been published in or is forthcoming from Bat City Review, The Bennington Review, Guesthouse, Tin House Online, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received her MFA in poetry.
legs like birch trunks stripped
white by winter
ginseng root toes
mangled from wear
the color of wheat fields
but he smears
like wet ink when we touch
we celebrate the harvest moon
forgetting to mourn
the death of summer
launched paper boats
soak up more shadows
than they can hold
peeking at hardships
through a keyhole
the way a hurricane
searches for land
I lose a shoe
at the water’s edge
something else too small to miss
also drifts out to sea
we scribe promises
in squid black
as if they have a place
thin strings bind our pages
into a collection of odes
a different number
a dragonfly in winter’
discards its wings
put your blue eyes
back on the windowsill darling
keep the lightning bugs
face made mean out of habit
like two beating hearts
I’ve never been angry enough
to freeze oranges
like heads with the name
of my assassin
scratched across the rind
but here I am
I listen to the house breathe
of someone leaving
and the stillness that follows
breakfast burns on the black
skillet still sucking in air
Samantha Lê, born in Sadec, Vietnam in the aftermath of war, immigrated to San Francisco when she was nine. A recipient of the James D. Phelan Literary Award and the Donor Circle for the Arts Grant, Lê holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San José State University. Her publications include Corridors and Little Sister Left Behind. Her poetry has appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Hypertrophic Literary, The Minnesota Review, and other fine literary journals.
so easily, and neither will the
brief wetness you rubbed off on
your thumb, worried. You resent
having this forbidden surface on your own
body, even at this scale, like two planets
you may not set foot on. Your own body resents
you back, or at least this is how you
interpret the discomfort of
putting in contact lenses. Let alone
the difficulty of teasing apart with
your oafish spirituality a third
for scrying. Women in France used to
black their teeth with coal and ash,
thinking only of sugar, unashamed that their smiles
led nowhere. You too can sink your boats
in the bath, leave pockets
sewn shut with lint, run a catheter from
under the flower-beds straight
to the gutter. Your soil is so dark that
only its adornment of white dots
keeps it being anything, barely.
It looks lovely in front of your
clapboard house. So do you. You sleep
with your good eyes shut and grope through
the world even while the dream
comes to you, unwilling to wait.
You have heard your soul has
crawl spaces. You may find in them
nothing at all.
When Casey’s lover leaves her,
she finds a small paper
on the floor of her living room
is like a mild toxin
in the brain.
Or in the back.
Only a little rot. One good
thought of a plant, a succulent
owned by a friend, is enough to
drive it away, fend blight
up the veins and back
into the bean;
but there it is again, in the kernel
caught between tiles of
a sidewalk, or in the deep-colored hats
sold from out of dark
and musical dens walked by
on Fulton Street. No, it is in
her subway line—but not the car
at total rest, or at full speed
screaming past her on sacred missions
into the midnight tunnels. It is the subway
slowing down at her fingertips,
sliding past to open
the doors, yawning slack as a
lily in the morning,
breathing crowds out
against the damp cement;
it is a longing for a lily
that would not just as soon
close on her hand
Envision the type of pathos that describes the true meaning of the Rose. It seems surely as if the Rose has come to mean more to us in a neurobiological or perhaps neuropsychological system of being, than a mere flower, a biologic entity evolved primarily for the propagation of a plant, a very complex method of propagation of course! It is one method of nonmammalian sexuality that we perceive as compellingly beautiful in an almost universal form of attraction. This rather simple organic arrangement of leaves, petioles, petals, and sepals on a stem weaves a powerful attraction over the lives of millions of lovers, brides, gardeners, artists, and of course, the frail, the desperate, and lastly the dead who lie in serene fellowship with the Rose’s final message to humanity. Imagine, if you will, the wounded lover (whose incandescent emotions have been snuffed out by caustic reiterations of their lover) who now waits in self-enforced solitude for a brief message, a word, a whisper from he or she who inflicted the sorry wounds. And then—a ring or perhaps a knock at the door (or an intimate finger taps tenderly against the window glass). The unknown mysterious face is seen through the tear-streaked glass bubble of the peephole bored like a primordial insect through the middle panel of the door. Who is this who dares to come to the sobbing shell of love, a love which has been stung, lacerated by harsh, vindictive words? Ah. A uniform? Ah. Yes, yes, O yes, a solitary delivery person. It is certain now; an exhaustive search while pasted against the soiled brass peephole confirms this: a florist’s truck parks deliciously in the driveway. Joy. A hand belonging to the reddened, still lachrymose eye flings open the door, both hands now stretch forward clutching hungrily at the serious-faced delivery man as he offers the long slim box to the gravely saddened one. An impractically long, esthetically appealing slim, white and pure box is held up for inspection like a knight’s sword might be held up for a king’s opinion. Approval is instantaneous. When the taped-on lid is fumbled with, almost savagely dismembered by anxious hands trembling with anticipation there, lying against the soft cushions of green tissue is the One. The single One Rose of a brilliant red, red the red of crushed lips, of flushed cheeks, of a single drop of purest lover’s blood! The healing is almost instantaneous as the disconsolate one embraces the Rose against the love-tormented breast. The heart is eased, tears halt immediately, and relaxation ascends through every wracked and weary muscle. Peace and pleasure again reside in the human body. Dopamine is delivered in dollops. Addiction quelled until the next delivery.
At midnight it was still chewing quietly on its anchor chain while the puddles meandering along the waterfront engulfed the chunks of watermelon we had thrown overboard after our farewell picnic.
At two a.m., sound of the waterfront tugs suddenly flapping and churning. In no time we were roaring out through the roads, ready for the open sea. The noise gave us all a case of the vapors. The fluids boiled in our brains. Just when we had finally relaxed into thinking about nothing worse than chipped beef!
The moon took on a distracted, uncomfortable look. The sky was ripe with reflections. Not yet visible, the jagged edge of the earth, out there where the ocean becomes a flume of falling water.
Land of the Free
Do you remember the day when you buttoned up freedom for ever? “The bug is snug in the rug at last,” you said. Do you remember how the legs of the bug were flayed and abraded by a summer of crawling up and down the screen door? How the children stuck pins through the screen and into the bug, which rocked and swayed and fell backwards into the amber waves? How the rescue ship broke down and had to be towed? Our home certainly offered no refuge from sorrow.
Listen, my best wishes for you
are built from the inside out,
like a sentence after the eye falls
upon a reasonable stone and opens
a window I remembered
to save the glass,
to feel December’s bearable embrace.
At the cemetery edge, the shade
of a neighboring house passes
the afternoon in a hooky from the bore.
I am that afternoon,
swiping your parka in a checkout lane
where your granite face gives rise
to fresh gray hair; buy a candy bar
on special. Free sleep mask
with each bouquet.
Out of mounded sprockets
grows a castle into which the dreamer
reaches, sussing out a guillotine.
You are my sunshine, my pillory.
Come rack imagination
in the black well of a boot.
The dead have all lined up,
are never late. Throw your cue
into the low-slung lamp’s
kinetic dark — that it may break.
From One Crotchety Spectrum Septuagenarian Too Chicken To Do Real Speed
The room is bare, except for the girls
Kneeling surreptitiously by the window,
Keeping watch on harbor seals. The girls
Are formerly land-locked Army brats
Displaced by houses, yards and fences
Caught on rotating schedules like
Themselves. The harbor seals are rollicking,
As harbor seals are wont to do without a care
On danger-free, authentic coasts, capricious
With Orca pods to keep the daily quotas
Set before the girls had grace with curiosity.
The harbor seals are slick with sand
To coat their furry radiance, dispelling
Rapture mixed with sea salt as the girls
Behind their open window, present
Each other with a shared gratitude
In the secret form of fear called
Giggles. And from the ocean waves
Another seal emerges, presenting with
A ravaged fish — the glimmering scales
And punctured eye sagging from the floppy
Tedium, twitching now in the mouth
Outside their window — and wiggles.
On Hong Kong Island, I run into my mother’s childhood crush—
still-a-bachelor, trying on Korean glasses
in the arts district once used for police housing.
I pick up a pair I can’t afford,
hoping for the freeze-frame of the moment—
it’s like in the movies when strangers lock eyes
across the fancy boutique, and she drops her gloves.
I know too much about this man,
his tabloid exploits, the “bored stag” lifestyle,
taking women half his age out for drinks.
But, if I’ve inherited my mother’s face,
why not inherit her taste in men,
pretend she’s a best friend who’s betrayed me
and I’m trying to get her back, make her jealous,
go after this man. It’s a sick, twisted family game,
and I’m ready to hold his gaze a few seconds longer,
picture our dream date: me waiting for him
in a silk robe with dragonfly pattern,
ready to eat spaghetti with our hands,
let him lick the tomatoes and Parmesan off my fingers,
drinking Mexican Cokes, then off to an artisan bar
drinking Old Fashioneds on dim sum trays.
My mother and father would be at the next table,
but in this dream, they’re in their twenties,
art is the lie—she glances over,
sees this girl in a body similar to hers,
wishing she were me instead and that she’d leave my father
in that moment, chase after some bigger dream.
And I let this man buy me a couple more drinks,
downing shots, but in this haze is where the scene cuts short.
Maybe it’s because he’s too friendly to the owners,
or that he’s actually shopping while I’m not,
but I don’t think the rumors are true—he’s not that crazy bachelor,
and he walks home, alone, happy, every night.
She was unaffected by the lump on her forehead. Its size was considerable, and her father was concerned. If you see that spider, kill it, he said. Or I’ll kill it. She smiled and nodded — fathers sometimes had to kill things in order to express their affection.
Everything seemed to come in squares. Architects had led the cause, incorporating sliding quadrants everywhere — polygons inserted into the natural landscape, and the movement of shadows made noticeable as they outlined the meticulous angles of a constructed space. These houses were always beautiful and forever unlived in until an Italian couple would purchase one for the express reason of not living in it but instead having it photographed. To see a photograph, which was no longer a photograph but instead a collection of pixels, was a thing to like. A person could like architecture, and in this way architecture’s likeability would grow.
She noticed the shadow of her head in profile — the lump really was considerable, and had she been in one of the new houses it could very well have disturbed the geometry of the place. Did the owners of beautiful houses dance? Who danced at home anymore, that unselfconscious unstudied type of dance that came in un-beautiful steps and furniture-threatening spins? The tarantella was such a dance, specifically manufactured for spider bite victims fallen under the spell of tarantism, where involuntary paroxysms of the leg and arm muscles carried a person about a room in 6/8 time.
Cary Grant Poses for Imogen Cunningham
Archie held three grapes in his mouth. The photographer was unaware that this was code for Don’t photograph me, and if you’re going to photograph me, it will look like I have three grapes in my mouth. But some people’s mouths are beautiful anyway, and the photographer made the picture. Archie looked down at his sweater. It was pilling in any number of places.
Some people want to be in movies. They say to a friend on the beach one day When I grow up. The problem with growing up is that some people never do it. The converse is also true: some people are born into it, and then they must find ways to undo their grown-upness. And then the things that their parents do, themselves still wrestling with their own scarcity or surplus of grownupness, these things change a person into the person they become.
Archie had already changed his name. In his mind, though he tried to keep his mind busy, he still responded to his given name. But a person longed to be loved, and if the longing was fierce enough, a person would change what they could. The damage shown in the mouth, its smile calling out I am ugly and Don’t leave.
At the end of Grandma Esther’s cul-de-sac, summer moon found me coins. Mexican money—round plata imbedded in roots. How do our hands find themselves soiled? Old man bursts through screen door, barking ¿Qué haces? I should have grabbed two handfuls of dirt and run. Instead, Grandma’s pursed lips, unsure if mentiroso is tasted in blood.
Statue for Seamstress
Stand on chair, legs uneven. A mother is stability. Hand needles her voice, quells fidget. No little boy understands fray—quick work of time, rub and soft cloth. Waist, wide as mans. Limbs eager to catch-up. Boy sways. Finger pricked. Punch to thigh teaches patience and still.
Photos 3 & 5, Found In An Album We Don’t Talk About
In a solid red sweat suit and L.A. Gears, little boy enters dawn. Mounds of mulch scattered. Pick up that rake…Now with the hoe. Disposable in my father’s hands, meant to mark: boy holding tools too close to the claw—the majesty of ignorant wealth.
On Paseo del Sol, periphery came to cul-de-sac. Estabamos chicanos at the foot & hump of horseshoe tú nos llamamos mexicanos. Elderly at our sides—Philippinos y queers opposite them. Sprinkled anglo, our street squeezed the american dream. And like asphalt, it was hard, unforgiving, sticky in summer.
The memory is phony, prescribed photographic. Kaleidoscope shifts wonder—sparkle to offset dark. I question an eye that gives credence. What trigger makes it so? My Kodak truth—blank-face snapshots. Tickled grimace to extricate joy, search for a smile to say I’m home.
Ruben Rodriguez is a MFA student at the University of New Mexico where he studies poetry. He is the fiction editor of The Great American Lit Mag and author of the chapbook We Do What We Want (Orange Monkey Publishing, 2015). His poetry has been deemed fit for consumption by Passages North, Beecher’s, Superstition Review, Potomac Review, Bayou Magazine and others. You can find him at www.rubenstuff.com.
Drop-Menu Scheduling Calendar with Only One Black-Out Date
When he took me out with his people, you could see he was ashamed of me.
The next youngest guy there was twenty years older than I.
Observe the parent bird strangely urging her babies from the nest.
The poet’s eye is a mother bird, and the tears are jumping off his cheeks!
Come, Corydon, forget your Alexis. Forget Amaryllis’s moods.
For this emphasis on sensual pleasure betrays your will to revenge.
The pursuit of knowledge is always a screen. Likewise, the asking advice.
People are poets. They just like to see certain themes being handled.
But if the artifact does not mean a thing until the maker is safely dead,
What are the audiences experiencing as I stand here and recite?
I have sixteen personalities, if each of my moods counts. And I
Have no personality at all if you’re expecting consistency.
The serpent moves quickly, Palaemon. Its head is a den of thieves.
Look how the sentinels inside are slightly parting the metallic curtains!
How appalling it is, in childhood, seeing that beautiful male brutes
Quite frequently, without any study, are masters of magical speech.
How appalling it is, in childhood, to be so often made to admit
That the lethal force of language is in the keeping of the oversexed.
I have no last words nor any last wish. Vive la différence!
Oh, but Tityrus, before I go, let us share a bowl of wine.
Let us share a bowl, Tityrus. Your Meliboeus must be on his way.
I’m off to the wrong airport: 4th of July, 2048.
Anthony Madrid lives in Victoria, Texas. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2013, Boston Review, Fence, Harvard Review, Lana Turner, LIT, and Poetry. His first book is called I AM YOUR SLAVE NOW DO WHAT I SAY (Canarium Books, 2012).
i have followed myself to a hotel balcony
in switzerland and i still can’t decide whether
to take on that new editing project.
and i can’t figure out how to think about memory.
do you think we were the wood and
wrought iron bench outside the tackroom
at the horse show in louisville?
and i didn’t like fig newtons, though
they were sunday trail rides, leather and pizza.
wherever i am, my body follows.
though it’s true, neurons form every day and cells
slough off. the styrofoam planets that fell
from their pipe cleaners were spaces of amnesia.
and i was always grappling for you.
because i could never be sure if i tasted
the honeysuckle from the lawn, and even the windows
of your animal hospital had to be re-caulked.
i can see how my artist boyfriend had arms
that were pale and thin with charcoal.
but i forgot for a while the way
you wanted the hairbrush pressed hard
from your eyebrows to the base
of your neck. the oscillating speed at which
i drove toward you, weighing each second
against the corners with the cops.
and i’d still, would still. i’d give you
each new or sloughing cell
before i’d hold one back.
july 2012: genetic heart condition.
the day after i got the diagnosis, i was tired.
talking wore me out. i knew i was hungry
only when i heard my stomach late-afternoon
growl. my cousins took me to dairy-rite—
where my granddad and uncle and dad used to go.
so i had two strawberry milkshakes.
i wanted to neither shove nor clutch the clouds
of grief: lengthening storm. i wanted them to roll
of their own accord.
hand sanitizer in a hospital room
purell is purell.
it did not love him.
it did not guard
or say from across the room— wait!
it has no memory,
it did not concern itself
with learning how to drain the tube
that threaded from his chest
through his never-sterile skin
to the filled-full air
or only using ninety-nine point nine-nine percent
germ-free fingers (if it had them)
or telling you (if it knew)
it was the nurse
or no one
who once (perhaps) forgot.
it was not surprised to see you
wheel your father back
three days after you took him home
or to find he had an infection
and must have left with an infection.
it stayed in its bottle
in the hallway,
in the doorway of the room,
on his tray table,
in your purse.
you were wrong to think it could save you.
Linda Harris Dolan is a poet and editor. She holds an M.A. in English & American Literature from NYU, and an M.F.A in Poetry from NYU, where she was a Starworks Creative Writing Fellow. She’s taught writing at The King’s College and NYU. Linda’s work appears in The Grief Diaries, Roanoke Review, and Blood and Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine, and she’s a 2016 Best of the Net nominee. Her work combines poetry with photography, interview, and received speech as she seeks to portray histories of medicine and the sick body amongst daily life.
I sat in a hot tub late one wedding
And weathered falling branches
Like a thing that could transcend me
But that I could still carry
If I had to go. The tub was
Like an endless conversation about authenticity
No more than two feet deep.
And you thought you were diving.
But if you’d really dived you’d have hit your head
And I saw no injury.
So you didn’t dive—I saw no injury
But I hit my head
On what I said
And if that’s depth
Then call me dead.
Jessica Laser’s work has appeared in journals such as Boston Review, The Iowa Review, jubilat, Lana Turner and in two chapbooks, Assumed Knowledge and the Knowledge Assumed from Experience (The Catenary Press, 2015) and He That Feareth Every Grass Must Not Piss in a Meadow (paradigm press, 2016). A Brooklyn resident, she teaches writing at Parsons and poetry at SUNY Purchase.
I walked down 51st street in the dark,
the heat – a soft bodied wrestler,
I thought of us on bicycles,
of myself on a bicycle.
At the stoplight the full moon
was as big and brief as Arkansas
– Jack and Charlie, knee deep in the Buffalo River,
for a minute, they were everything:
a crow, a spring trout, a muscleman, a kiss,
stickyweed, and the short ridges in a thick palm.
It’s not that the tent was colder that night
but it was.
It’s that when we drove back to Texas
you shaved off your beard,
and looked so different
that I spent a long time at your bathroom mirror,
cheeks beneath my fingers,
considering my own face,
the pink meat of a thick peach,
Loneliness May be in Your DNA
Some people have inherited loneliness like juniper berries.
Your therapist asks you:
How often do you feel that you lack companionship?
How often do you feel isolated from others?
How often do you moan at the night in yellow underwear?
The ache of isolation is
a new city
in a tourniquet.
Nell at the Table
I don’t think Nell eats the way that I do –
four slices of baklava
in front of a laptop
in big underwear.
I picture her rinsing chard
She’d eat alone too,
but not like this –
a city elephant moaning
Nell After Work
On Thursday Nell still has a tan
she throws cigarettes out of her bedroom window
and soaks her feet
in a big basin
of Epsom salt and hot water.
At the party tomorrow she’ll wear gold sequins
and move through joy
like a trumpet player
in a powder blue Mustang.
the sky is a black anenome,
we watch it explode.
New Jersey, 1999.
(The third brightest star,
a fast animal,
I haven’t talked to you
Ally Young is an MFA fellow in poetry at Syracuse University. She is a graduate of Kenyon College where she worked as a reader for the Kenyon Review. She is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Prize as well as the John Crowe Ransom Prize for Poetry at Kenyon College. Her work has been published in several print and online journals, including The Fairytale Review and Borderlands: The Texas Poetry Review. Her first chapbook, “The West and Other Mistakes” will be released this fall from Dancing Girl Press.
Spider monkey got a haircut.
He sat down in the haircut chair.
I say to my kid: At the first sight of tears,
Your petition is denied.
An owl nurse came in with a speech impediment.
She couldn’t say what she wanted.
The mouse put on the helmet.
The inside was little boxes.
Clear glass and how many colors.
Nobody could put on that helmet.
If I ask you to hand me a thing and you do it,
The words had nothing to do with it.
Here’s a pair of jeans for you,
And a left-handed athlete for me.
The athlete needs to apply himself more.
The jeans were all right ’til they shrank.
Here’s a pair of jeans for you,
And a left-handed athlete for me.
She misunderstood what you said? Not at all.
She got all there was to get.
Rain isn’t as clever as snow.
Nor snow as smart as hail.
I fled that beautiful city
That makes you have to go numb.
The numbered sections are wrong a strawberry’s
Taken control of the embassy.
That’s how they knew it was Sin.
Just . . . whatever they repented.
The principal African animals
Are the lion, the witch, and the aardvark.
Best keep an eye on these Christians
Who don’t believe in God.
I think I know a porpoise
From an out-of-work broke-ass dolphin.
I can’t possibly be the protagonist
Or I’d be exempt from humiliation.
Dolphin, go to community college.
This dolphin’s six months pregnant.
This is a source of dissatisfaction
For the ant, the gull, and the ant shark.
We leave you the crystal of truth.
But we’re taking with us the crystal of fun.
You find out if you were an addict
The minute it’s time to quit.
Inchworm over and over.
Maggot once or twice.
But merit is not merit enough:
There has to be pleasure . . .
Oh, inchworm, inchworm, inchworm.
And William Carlos Williams
Yelling into the open mouth
Of a nest of baby ostriches.
Water’s made of molecules;
Molecules, out of atoms.
In therapy you can come to terms
With the millipede’s indifference.
The magnetic strip on a debit card
Lets you be tracked from space.
A moment’s the measure of time in which
Nothing at all can happen.
The airport has many hazards.
Impassable rivers and starvey wolves.
Their hunting patterns exactly match
Those of the stranded octopus.
And who is as the suckblob?
And who knoweth the interpretation of the suck?
Daddy Longlegs looked it up
In the Lithuanian textbook.
Oh, I know, I know, I know.
Interrupted a hundred times,
The psyche goes into crisis—and so:
Ineligible is the bat.
Anthony Madrid lives in Victoria, Texas. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2013, Boston Review, Fence, Harvard Review, Lana Turner, LIT, and Poetry. His first book is called I AM YOUR SLAVE NOW DO WHAT I SAY (Canarium Books, 2012).
They could not shut them, elephant feet not my own, no, not
you either like a reindeer these belong to a higher order, poor
Edda before the butterfly in the mirror able only to recognize
home in its reflection, material, not moral elements, yes trout
but what about salmon? I loved you and you just slept a long
green sound out over the lake, you gave the lake a spine. Animals
have a country more complete than ours say the people at home,
that dogs are generous, cats make intuitive decisions. Still, for
the flax chaff, he didn’t know what to do with his hands, and
opted convivially for the wash. They were approaching the end
of the stick used to measure their patience as a sort of lifespan,
musing upturned in the morning dew who might be
brought to them and the thoughts each carried. It seemed
an impossible scene rendering vaguely a shovel renting the earth
flinging clods into the neighbor’s yard, insisting upon this. Then
to me, he squints because he is left-handed and leaves sour
the parade of bodies seeking refuge. Romanticism is a nice salve
to sanity, a border-comedy of laudatory miscegenations of the mind
among listenings to two lira repeated in the cave – the smell of soup
brands a people, sick beast the night was, birds loftier than man
for all his puffed-up malingering. I don’t see the need of it, down
compartment, took note feeling the space to be filled more
as an opportunity to define this tunneling than to dwell on what
was in it, though I am only borrowing these gloves, chains
to the ocean in a collective dream. Shadowed nonetheless, they
root in my old age, corrupt glory white shine of the rosy plump
darling set among the swinging sea, humans on land like dumb
buoys looking for balls in depth barred by their floating nature
tombs, poor Edda, flax chaff stuck to me in weekly sketches,
chickens chirping on the steppe so many millions with me in bed
their feathers derange my senses, and no longer tickle. Was that
wistfulness in my voice, or the fabled sigh accepting that long road
extends unchanging? A tall old lout holds in his mouth a solitary joy
so many sparrows share, who flee to the sea, flies on a sheet to stay.
If one can speak of irony in connection with ghosts and green ghostly
things, they appeared bigger because they actually were so. Now
I like being afraid. What are the words to the new green songs, oh,
the lanterns position themselves, create the water’s having corners.
Darcy Eldridge studied English at Purdue. She currently lives in New Orleans, Louisiana where she works as a photo developer.
shows Mount Diablo in the distance:
the last time they think a grizzly killed a man
was 1865, Strawberry Canyon.
This was also the last reported sighting.
The dregs of that canyon’s creek slices Berkeley campus.
They killed the biggest ever found in California
in Valley Center earlier that decade. 1868,
the UC opened: lux fit. Last summer
we drove out to tour lavender farms, got lost
off the 395, argued, gassed up,
got there, were made
serene. “Grizzly” describes
the golden and grey tips of its hairs: golden
poppy, alumni who Bleed Gold. Tan splashing children.
Students jump Strawberry Creek’s narrow parts
to get to class. It rarely rains, so the creek
Saw Amanda in neon and black—
Drank coconut water, agreed to meet at their party garage,
Glittered at the mouth and touched brows,
Bought potato chips ending up spicy, walked over twenty blocks,
Went with to get ice cream pressed between two cookies,
Drank coffee at ten and later at seven, showered,
Dragged shoes and blue clothes—
Bruised one hip on a table, kept silent from arrogance,
Kept silent from fear, was needy,
Was critical, took it bad when Carlos called “sweetie,”
Saw Andrew and told him to call if ever not well,
Read over a shoulder Voltaire “go to heaven,” caught a lot of periphery,
recognized the great joke of the process—
Kayla Krut is a fellow at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her work has recently appeared in minor literature[s], Contemporary Verse 2, and American Chordata, and is forthcoming in the Berkeley Poetry Review. She is from California.
The chin is civil. Boring hair
worms through a chuck,
or doesn’t. Ingrown whiskers
wrestle. The worth of a weevil
depends. Inured evil,
as an enterprise, shills.
Even the upright magistrate
curves through a telescope,
which is his beaten wife. Indoors
his tight glands, a boy’s hands
cup an oblong rowanberry or
bury a row of oblong cups.
Competing examples bedizen.
Intestinal fortitude’s rigid
scrip. Loose schemata on
the quality of facial expression:
that it is struck open-handed.
Peter Longofono’s poems have appeared in H_NGM_N, fields, Luna Luna Magazine, and Tenderloin, among others. He serves as the Reviews Editor at Coldfront and makes music with Big Figment and TH!CK. His chapbook, CHORDS, was published in March 2016 by the Operating System. He lives in Brooklyn.
brain braid. of purple flower. she to the wickerwork. of fern.
pine bark. hello you deaths. so brain beat. trusted lavender.
to throb. she with sweat. her hours with chins. haircuts.
triangle mouth out. peninsula and her one finger. on the leaf.
ear to the ground. other in the sky. fill with rain water.
with mud. the other. her own body. amplified. can’t she know
the bottle emptied. cap in her hand. her ears still on
both sides of her body. a fault. where to. deadbeat
wishing and stiff-eyed. swamplily. you foamflower.
the whole run of flesh. with hair and nails. that flowerpot.
stuck between the two fingers in her ears.
some every. thing. made with her hands.
in a dream you are broken into, house violated and burglarized
by the apparition of him. you lay and write a letter into a blank
book. she and her mother wear rouge paper robes.
their teacher iman mersal. they can never contact. all they have
is their good book with the catalog info, author bio, advanced praise.
there are 33 blank pages inside the hard cover. I’ve stolen her book.
I write to her in it. the dog was beat to death when I got here.
your mother had a black eye. you call me while I write. I hear
in your voice that you know I’m placing ink in your book. but
it’s not your book. you are not her. you begin to imply accusation,
the best offense against the liar. the man stands in the doorway.
he killed the dog. he black-eyed your mother. there are more
terrible things than this book thrown somewhere
in this ransacked house. the man does nothing. I realize the woman
on the phone was here to read the words I placed in that book.
she killed the dog and punched out the mother. she needed to know.
and took what she wanted. the man hands me a phone number.
on a yellow sheet of paper. he’d found it in the street. my car
had been burglarized. they’d taken nothing again. I keep nothing.
but now I watch for them and wake up in the night and look.
Sean F. Munro lives, listens, writes, and teaches in New Orleans. Other recent poems appear or are forthcoming in The Offending Adam, ILK journal, and Spork. Nice to meet you.
Grant us that we’re Roland Flint and that we’re not;
Yet who remembers Roland Flint? And who will
Remember him tomorrow? Mark Vinz, it’s true,
Marked Flint, remembered and was Roland Flint. But
What was it he remembered? In
A poem he sees himself as Roland Flint, which makes sense,
Because he is Roland Flint. His act of remembering
Is thus a thinking of himself;
Not a remembering of Roland Flint, no,
But still a remembering of Roland Flint. What then does
It mean to be thankful for good words, words that
Come from who knows where, as Vinz and Roland Flint
Were? Edward Hirsch remembered and was Roland
Flint, Hirsch, whose son would also die, who recalled
Roland Flint’s indignant anger at the first
Gulf War, and his coincident
Attachment to his bourgeois life, his garden, the comforts
Of a home in suburban Maryland, the Tidewater
Region, whose “subtle beauty and
Energy” Rita Dove felt Roland Flint’s work
To be “chock full of,” for Rita Dove is and remembers
Roland Flint, Rita Dove who described Flint as
“Roly poly” in the pages of the Washington Post.
Susan Kaye Rothbard remembered
And was Roland Flint. The writer
John Balaban, known for his poems about
Vietnam and for his translations of Vietnamese
Poets, as well as poems from Romanian, also
. . .
For Roland Flint was a stout man, Roland Flint, who dreamed that
William Stafford would outlive him
And was surprised to hear that Bill,
Sitting on a chair post run, got up, walked calm
As could be to his wife who’d called him to their kitchen, then
Fell down dead on their kitchen floor, Roland Flint who wrote a
Poem about Stafford’s death, who
Wrote about the lives and deaths of other poets he knew
Or admired, for of course he was those poets, Roland Flint
Whose goal was to be counted among poets
Whether his work was read or not;
Flint, whose writing was an existential act
Of self-assertion, -preservation, -defense,
An almost compulsive urge to put pen to
Paper, although he tried to “quit poetry”
Several times in his younger years
After getting some harsh rejections he could not forget;
Roland Flint, who wrote about his father’s rage and his own,
Who wrote about how poetry
Failed to temper rage, who wrote about yelling. . .
Robert Farrell lives and works in the Bronx, New York. His poems have recently appeared in the journals Underwater New York and unLost. Originally from Houston, Texas, he’s a librarian at Lehman College, CUNY.
Someone: I don’t remember how the yellow rods were positioned.
Walking shadow. I had to be pulling on the wheels,
one after another. Two points
of lighter color on a black rectangle define the mouth of the curve.
Two weights: one weight
breathing, one weight returning
to a pile of dirt on a pile of snow.
Someone: the curve touches the support at a second location.
Someone: a brick next to a bed.
The brick is outside? The bed is outside?
Oliver Strand is an M.F.A. candidate at Brown University. His furniture and wooden spoons have been exhibited at the New Hampshire Furniture Masters’ Gallery, Soloway Gallery and HENRY. His poems have appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, Synecdoche and Anomalous.