Every morning the magpies uttering their benedictions
a family saying grace over breakfast
and my father threatening to get his air rifle
Stillborn water velvet golden hubcap
pristine heaven faded padding rhinestone
ashes sloughing lacquer warming lilies
hollow stubborn pillow welcome choking
stringing pastel hearted nettle leaded
fallow veiny fatting slump whatever fail.
I see myself
the crucial aspects are
new hope gets its beauty rest,
old hope is
a zombie star
Nothing Can Be Done
They say nothing can be done to prevent another
disaster after the first flood, even after the second,
but here hunches a man digging ditches with a worn spade.
They have all those shining machines,
so why won’t they do the same?
unlearning my manners dandelions
—Arvinder Kaur / Deepa Patil
—Shloka Shankar / Surashree Joshi
ever notice how laughter’s
where the teeth come in?
She put the babies down too early
not-yet-sunk into the thick cake of night
but the milk so tired in its brittle cup.
—Jennifer K. Sweeney
Two ragged foxes curled into a single circle upon the rotted mattress
Underneath the bridge. Traffic their lullaby.
Doctor’s Office Erotica
Fingers cold inside me,
—Briar Ripley Page
A girl watches geese welter in a round
pent patch, glass on all sides,
open pad before ascent
lion’s bones hived;
skull still yoked
to the hair’s strength
death’s negative recast:
c’è sempre un po’ d’autunno nella primavera,
the fragmentary seasons of the interred & the tillers
made whole in the irresistible hollow’s
my lover tells me the sound
the mourning doves make when they break into flight
is only air rushing over a special feather in their wing
still I know each leaving leaves more than we think
I know how bad the body wants to sing
through your open window
A man sees us fucking & stops
to lift his little dog so it can watch as well.
What I have in this world I know I have.
We all tip our invisible cap.
Heat stroke at the salton sea
Bleary eyed and knobby kneed
nodding off in grapevines
within the lab examined
on the solar panel
midnight stars (ha)
into sleep (rct)
no, you leave
geostationary satellite (rct)
out of the blue
this weightless argument (ha)
—R.C. Thomas / Hifsa Ashraf
Every night I die in my dreams
pulling a stethoscope out of a cabinet;
there’s a mirror inside my camera
and it flips you ‘round ‘n ‘round
Jerry is turned off by a woman’s beauty mark.
George chases an apocryphal rat in his apartment.
>Elaine trains her date to chew with his mouth closed,
with disastrous consequences.
Kramer runs for mayor and wins in a landslide.
moistened pages of ‘City Times’
with never before festive offers.
One reverse chemical reaction away
from crude oil for blood and worms for veins.
Sobriety is a recumbent unicycle,
moderation is standing still,
hovering over the pedals.
—John Paul Caponigro
A faceless woman.
The light changes:
cars slip into
two unlit buildings,
festival bass in between—
wakes the night
a tire swing
on a balsa boat;
storm over the radio
—Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo
The government is over(throne).
The page of the ca(lend)ar, like the page of history
of the Romanovs, is turned with the same ease,
as the severed head of an executed king
March 19, 2020
for my mother
When our third cat died I was in the north
room No one prepares you for CPR
on small creatures Buying your first
shovel Casablanca lilies
in the steel bucket
pen at rest –
the robin is waiting
—Barbara Anna Gaiardoni