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1. My father hated him.
2. So his best friend, J.R., picked me up. Shook my daddy’s hand at the door.
    Promised me back by midnight.
3. Daddy thought I was obedient, a good girl.
4. It was hot, even for August.
5. J.R.’s parents were in Vegas, so he loaned us their bedroom.
    5a) They had a king-sized bed.
6. Diana Ross and the Supremes were singing Baby Love.
7. J.R. watched cartoons in the den.

Blue house dropped out of the sky
Sculpture of a giant fish jumping from snow

There’s a lake at the top of the mountain that’s all light

Golden angel sitting on a mailbox, legs crossed
So what if the wind of prophecy’s long blown away?

How many mountains will God hang over our heads
               before we can read the Torah of sky?

Lunar

By Molly Dickinson

Poem

Some tunnels are dark even though they are known. Like: how to choose my lunchtime apple. Like: which direction to run. And time is contracting in a way you didn’t warn me of. I’d be upset, but my body pieces are communing in ways you also didn’t warn of. I commune my eyes with my tongue, ears with my fingers. Flexing paths I did not know filled this body. One morning I find that my toes are conversing with my knees. They take me running in another direction and I find these things: goats that bleat, a worm filled fig, lupine-lady on her bicycle. Tonight, you told me to watch the red clay moon. So I’ve arranged my legs under my body and watch with my eyes closed. So under the wind my skin is shifting wisteria petals. So I soften against the ground, under your red clay moon. So I’m bare pieces: a gathering on my lawn, spread before this house. And I understand that I’m becoming reckless with my body in ways you’d scold me for. But I have changed the frequency of my ears and I can only hear the red clay moon.

Those days I walked around the water
with no good way to describe it, but knowing
that nothing majestic simply flows
Native tribes replenished the west coast with media
when the animals left for good
& then everything was a pet
or a pet’s story
I was hungover constantly
Aching & enthusiastic
& I felt that very specific loneliness
of having no good parka
in a city where practical knowledge
flowers toward you like a fruit
& asks you to participate in its gift

I’d never seen that mountain as clear as I saw it today
Picking a house to buy, then buying it
Stacks of linens showing off
Three candles on the bathroom floor

If I lived in Seattle I’d be in love right now

Maybe I need to drop something into the lake

Years of walk made the path go here and here and not there
The mattresses and tents beside it

What kind of a bird—
oh. A human bird

Radar

By Jessica Popeski

Poem

Pin straight prairie,
branch veins drumming
egg-smooth sky,
frost muscling into the earth.
Here, where pop is on special,
lettuce, diapers, extortionate.
Where little ones run,
barn cat wild,
bare gummed and bare footed,
sparrow legged,
elbow and knee joints jutting
like knots on a tree.
Where hunger balloons bellies,
carnation milk warms porridge,
on lucky days,
in homes where
mildew flowers wallpaper.

To have survived a life of gentle skirt-lifting is to never experience overexposure.

To retain a place in this world is to burnish split cherries until the red glosses with spit.

To people who gender the unborn what about the lotus is tagged with murder or crisp bows.

To engineer a clear sky some nations swallow clouds and suffer spiked rain.

To be tongued a floor has to retain its modesty beneath serrated lines.

To unease into a spread always keep the kneecaps ready for a feast at a moment’s notice.

To collect hate colonialize first a chorus of white-bellied weeping.

To colonialize is to imbue tenderness into that which has been extirpated by force.

To force enlargement onto the relation between girlhood & fortune

a whole generation must lose.

This here Wild West is
no reprieve, bearing all secret, no rule, fewest boundary
before transgression. A lark, his caw, makes good on the temperament:

A song whose words aren’t sung

dirge that swells- expands when we’re not careful,
pent and held in on the balls of our feet. The tightrope ballet. Mourning the living
will make you too tired to dance

It will make you graceless.

a) A stork flies over the lake, dropping a baby to a woman paddling a canoe. She catches it like a touchdown, but her oars slip into the water, and are lost.

1. Sometimes I feel like riding a steamroller over the graves, over the monuments, over the trophy cases. Compared to the river cutting the mountain in half, we flow only one way, too. Me and you, mountains and rivers all the live long day.

Epistolary

By A.M. O'Malley

Poem

Dear Brother,

The night you were born it was summer in Chino Valley. That night the curly valley was a bowl of lizards. I drank Fresca and counted wasps. Our mother, in another room of the house, tried to be calm. Earlier that day in the whitest heat I crept to her bedroom window to watch your father try to induce her, playing with her plate sized nipples. I was caught. You were late.

We need air all the time.

the broadcast of a tea kettle
the ignition of a ghost fog

mercury snapping through linden
& the orchard’s doe is polka-dotted

on a road as open as a new notebook;
you, snow-stormed in the dawn of exits

husband & harpooner

with an iceberg caving in the thorax

For Alan Dann

A woman came up to me in Bloomingdales and said she liked my glasses and I told her where to get them and she said, “what do you think I am — a millionaire?” and stomped off.
A woman came up to me in grad school and said she wished she was as smart as I was and I told her where to find the good theory books at the library and she said “what do you think I am — stupid or something?” and threw down her copy of Derrida’s On Grammatology and stomped off.

Trusting only in

my legions of cats and piles of
                    sweaters, holy tights
          and wool dresses.

Oh, to be more than a hand-
                              stringing-out words
on a clothesline,

          like a bad joke for no audience.

          No one
at the bus stop.

                    Unemployed
                         in the
          afternoon.

Like the Moon

By John Mortara

Poem

like the moon / i once collided with something much larger than myself / and then refused to leave / like the moon i turn everyone around me / into wolves / salivating at the night / teething on the dark / just like the moon i can churn an ocean into an angry stomach / sick of itself / was pledged to the earth / but can’t / stop talking / about the sun / like the moon / now you see me / and now you can fuck off / i used to be your distant dream / turned stupid success / so quickly i became a bored routine / claimed / and then absently abandoned when the future suddenly seemed / too expensive / admit it / the only reason you ever wanted me was war / you have everything you could ever need below your feet / and you stare up at me with all that lonely / i am like the moon / all the myth / the legend / the religion / the complete and absolute human delusion / all of it / countless wistful longing poems later / and you still / don’t get it / the future / is too / expensive / i am like the moon and it’s daytime and i’m still here so deal with it / i am like the moon and it has been so / so long / that people just stopped believing we even happened / i am like the moon / and you’re right / there are no men here anymore / i am killing each one of them / with time.

the black mouth empty
and quivering, and where there should be that shape,
that almost leggy, round-eyed jump, there is only space.
The doctor purses his lips, as he pursed them at the foot of my birth bed
where he delivered my first son. He was tired then, three in the morning
bleary Christmas Eve.  Now, he stands at the foot of this table and delivers
as kindly as he can: “This looks very early” and “there is no heartbeat.”
His eyes are smeared with sympathy as his hands and the cold instrument
probe me. Once those hands issued out my son, rich with birth blood
and cries. Now they search my womb, an open sarcophagus. Not death;
this is an un-being: life tentative as seed that doesn’t take root.
I think of my son, wanting pictures of the “tiny baby” and hope
he will forget, that we will rip out this idea as stitches in a project started
but abandoned, a mouth that opened to speak but aborted its idea.
The screen stays black and true, the doctor apologetic. My body:
exposed as fraud, made promises it can’t or won’t deliver.
The probe retracts; the doctor and I, bereft of purpose.
Time has lost its shape. There is nothing to hand over.