by Dawn Lonsinger
A night passes inside small car doors, their empty
handles confronting our hands. The precincts of
everything evaporate. The canvas of the body unstretched
& trudging backward through the visible
corridors of the cornea, into a former, less rented
foyer of one’s self, where one can’t even remember
the body, let alone its religions, but what remains
are these ethereal steps of spine, with which we climb
into each other, into our disappearance, our shudder,
our slight song. A seed exploding in blackless dark.
We wake with a dusting of sugar around the mouths
of our pores, a whisper about the body.
Close of Season
by Emily Smith
Say there is still a rice field in her. Flooded. A wet mouth. Limbs
hung with moss. Somewhere, her toothbrush abandoned to a
cabinet. The sky, a rust red barn. What’s sad: even a shade tree can
dissolve the moon. The road coughs up a spindly tree. A fish
hooked and thrashing in her. A decoy catching on iced air. The kids
we were pull their knees to their hearts. Because there are veins in
our bodies jumbled as fishing line. Towns held together by a
tractor’s loose stitch. Who doesn’t want years from now, a front
porch looking out on a fistful of bearded fields? Life light and gauzy
as cotton? We are always thinking with our hands. A drake’s head
flopped over a thumb. An iridescent dress, a shift in the light.
Touching back then. Marsh grass everywhere. A season passing in
and out of her chest. Eventually, we have to smooth out the waves
from bed linen, turn off the unconvincing windmill of wings. Learn
to let a retriever retrieve, bound back to us, a duck’s legs and wilted
neck slung over his lower jaw. He waits still as Sunday afternoon in
Filbert. So much unsaid in a mouth. Humid nights. Damp hands.
The tang of wet wood in a blind. That first shot. A sweet that won’t
dissolve on her tongue. The way the sky goes, sometimes. A slow,
tumbling mess of blue-wings.
by Emily Lloyd
My father is kicking my mother out on a school night
and I have to be Jackson Pollock tomorrow morning
in seventh grade. All day, I’ve tried to brood
in the mirror in my father’s shirt, to hang
a cigarette from my lip and keep it there
throughout my speech.
She’s having an affair—
a keeper. In a week the man will walk
off to buy us sodas and she’ll stick
an elbow in me, saying Isn’t he cute?
The cigarette is fake: a piece of chalk;
I’ve marked the end with orange to mimic ash.
I’m scared to death of what I’ll have to say
tomorrow, now I’ve decided to tell the story
of someone asking Pollock How do you know
when you’re done with a painting? Jackson, calmly, softly:
How do you know when you’re finished making love?
Falling dresses. My mother’s: my father’s
sobbing, dropping them from a second story
window. I’m not sure I can say make love
in front of friends. I will. I’ll say, Sure Mom,
he’s cute. A falling dress half-floats,
half-thuds. Do you know when you’re finished making love?
It’s a school night, there’s work to be done, the cigarette
falls and rolls across the family room
and nothing burns.