by Julia Bouwsma
finds you standing naked in front of the mirror
gulping and gulping hardened
air to fill your belly up
to swell your little lie
as cold porcelain skims against calves
you swallow and swallow her
until she is
fleshy and swimming
air-born into pink
sucking for milk
more air for milk
It's Like That Scene in Annie Hall Where Annie Leaves Her Body
by Rio Cortez
and sits beside the bed how I’m certain I’m across from me on the seven
train and when we get into the cab how I watch myself ride shotgun
and I think Annie starts to knit or maybe does a crossword could be
I keep nodding yes what’s important is that she is two
Annies that that what reaches one not reach the other that the body
know indifference I ghost steady through the hole in my mouth I watch you struggle with
buttons on my dress I keep nodding yes I fill-in some box
with pencil letters
by Steven Cramer
I shake my head, my right brain’s
left behind; my left, right behind.
I mean, I’ll tell you what I found
so fine about flushing my coins
down a well. Splashes answered.
I marbled the moon with a wand.
Boy o boy, hello shook my hand,
the water’s underworld stirred
to a tune of midnight, midnight.
I didn’t much mind how timepieces
cramped my moon-in-man aphasias.
But I wouldn’t—won’t—let daylight
phase me out. Weighed too well,
gelatin glummed in my mouth,
I tasted gypsum. Smack! Health
care rusted the fly in my flywheel.
Realignment? Right, two planets
balled up into one hard-boiled sun.
You double helical worms, I’ve won,
stares back-spinning out my orbits.
by Tara Deal
Think of how many times
these towels have been washed:
towels times tens
the study of change
in pockets and graying socks
while sheets like stacks of scrap paper pile up, increasing
our machine breaks down with a bang
just like that
cheap abacus bought on a whim
back in Chinatown when
we were having so much
fun: sticky candy, crispy duck, white shirts
that is, now
I know the answer
(if I understand this problem correctly)
is the chance
laundry again: forever.
by Mark Hendrickson
Sometimes dirt from the patio above mine falls through the gaps in the slats.
I end up having to wipe down the table with a wet cloth, then a dry one before
sitting down to have my tea and read how the gulf will never recover. That’s the word
the blogs use, which doesn’t mean to re-cover, but to re-gain, re-attain: something
had been had, presently it’s lost, we’d like it back. Addicts celebrate recovery. So do
swindled litigants, victims of the flu, computer technicians looking for lost files.
The gulf will never celebrate recovery, the blogs tell me. It will get no
5-Years-Sober coin and sincere applause, nor walk home to its noisy children
and sea birds and say, “Five years ago today, something special happened, something clicked.”
Five years ago today, nothing happened, that I can remember. I lived
in another apartment, was learning guitar, hadn’t started paying off my loan.
British Petroleum was renewing its lease for Deepwater Horizon,
an ultra-depth, dynamically positioned, semi-submersible, offshore drilling rig,
sitting several kilometers above a pocket of oil. Knowing this now can’t
worry me then, tutoring at the high school on Thursdays, driving my mother’s blue car.
by Katherine Hollander
And if I sing of snow, it won’t be poisoned,
falling on gravestones and in rivers.
And if I mention grandfathers, they won’t drool
from wheelchairs, unless they’re stolen wheelchairs,
they won’t bounce anyone on their knee, they won’t
be fallen gods. They’ll all be old warlocks and Reds,
telling you how it used to be. All the snakes
St. Patrick cast out of Ireland will be there, and the wolves
got themselves hunted out of England, they’re
there, too. The lovers I mean won’t be
the silent-curses type, hating one another weakly
over dirty dishes, they’ll be fucking in libraries,
reaching for one another over the old beloved volumes.
In this song I’m making for you, darling, a tree
is a living birch and it’s a canoe that you can steer
around the pink rocks in silver water, and nobody murdered
the old Commune of Paris, they’re still there, making
their ecstatic decisions, emancipating every
baguette and demitasse, every precious tiny cuillère.
This song has a house for you, my love, tucked among
pagan tenenbaums, each ablaze with an angel, her foot
just touching the topmost branch like a white owl.
by Lauren Nicole Nixon
in your bathroom, there is a claw foot tub and when you lift your body from the water,
there’s never a ring. no proof/no evidence of your body in the space. no droplets of
water along the tiles or/strands of hair stuck in the drain.
this is not like the time when you knocked with no answer/this is more like the time when
you filled the vase with hyacinths and no one could smell them. like sand falling through
a sieve so quick you can’t tell it’s sand.
I’m wondering about the way evidence lives and breathes and goes unnoticed: sudden
cravings for salt/crushed berries on a porch swing/soft moaning through a wall. a pink
flamingo in a yard. excess in a corner.
I’m asking you to leave the butter on the counter and the lawn growing real wild. I’m
urging you to speak real loud/to be the fulcrum of the problem. the wind is biting and the
water is chilly but it’s urgent that you leave crumbs.
by John Sibley Williams
this mess is a conscious effort,
an experiment on hunger,
on what happens
when a single loaf is placed
in my hands.
Thank you for the bread.
Thank you for neglecting to sweeten it.
And thank you for leaving
the crumbs where they lie,
upon the mantle and doorframe,
scattered across the bed sheets
so they can harvest themselves,
and thank you for licking my fingers clean
so I can forget I am full.