/ / Issue 6, Poetry

Zero degrees again. Midwest winters confuse loving with not leaving.
Yes we are made of drifts. Yes we are made of degrees on a map of discontent.

[Aluminum breath, breath of absence and alchemy,
Breath of blood history, breath of aromatic bitters]

Example: I left my home full of salt and chrome and church manners. Moved away,
where I willed the memory of glaciers to silt me downriver again.

[Calamine breath, cypress breath and
Dogwood, devil’s food, breath of divinity with almonds]

Vacant hills of snow: fugue season, no permits given.
Under each fallow mound I idle and thaw.  GOODY’S BODY SHOP:  PAINT  REPAIRS  PARTS

[Engine breath and exoskeleton, eiderdown, breath of
Folly, fork in the road, breath of sod]

They swim up in the sun, the sleepers, the root-fish,
sow rain into beds,      they evaporate.

[Grass breath, breath of foam, breath of paper fans,
Hickory breath, hymnals, breath of leather, breath of sorghum]

Rivulet the dark with what do I remember: stop for an ache,
quarry-side: peer into its deep gunmetal eye:   hello, loaded chamber.

[Ingot breath, salt lick breath, breath of tails, revivals,
Jam breath, cherries jubilee, gin breath of bathhouse row]

Pews lined end-to-end with legs like piano keys break into rafts
or into song. They glide and steam.     PINE BLUFF ARSENAL   EXIT 2 MILES   CLOSED

[Katydid breath and kudzu, breath of cashmere, breath of rope,
Lotus breath, bobcat laugh, breath of lone oak]

No one told me not to:            I yelled down backwaters that echo.
Mud face named, catfish alien, puppy-hushed. What did swim up.

[Mimosa tree breath and mattress, breath of windowsill,
Nickel, new roads, breath of soffit and tornado]

Lampshade sun:           loaded barrel chest:     mountains
knuckle the sky. The river                   cracked slate and chalk.

[Oxbow breath, breath of okra, peach orchard and pine,
Phantom breath and pantomime, breath of empty frames]

Jesus of Billboards and Hearts’ Doors. KING BISCUIT TIME. My
itinerant bridge of blue mud and mosquitoes, interstate of homeless lights.

[Quake radius breath, breath of quotients and remainders,
Ridgeback and breath of rice fields, breath of accents]

Hunger-nested, I swarm, I hive,          in fault lines, in
golden meat, on the backs of wild boar, in the rough of diamonds.

[Skull-shine breath, salt lick, breath of kiln and locust,
Terrace breath, breath of taffy, tree swing breath of currents]

Ferry across the lake to the island with the cliffs. Let turkey vultures
eat the gift of my violence.

[Undertow breath, caliper breath, breath of sieve and cleaver,
Velvet breath, breath of grease, breath of fire]

Darlin’, what’ll ya have?                  Fingers licked clean.
Can you pay for what you’ve taken?           Not even close.

[Wire breath, wolf breath, breath of state lines,
Xiphoid breath of bone tongue, breath of shoal]

By what shore my hands have emptied me.     No pennies
and no receipts.           At what tables I swam and fed.

[Yam breath, breath of butter, breath of yoke, breath of yawl,
Zodiac breath, zenith, breath of weather, teeth, and grammar]



Issue 6 Contents                                       NEXT: The Landlord by Peace Adzo Medie