after she stumbles we both stop
it’s a tack she says picking up that tiny blue I guess kids are pulling them down she stretches to the top of the board reinserting the construction paper lizards leer and form orange-tongued hisses I nod I get it I understand
there are days when the air is so full so heavy with voices sound words metal simply pops out reptiles fall down little feet crush what gluesticks stuck together it’s hard to hear to feel your own lungs breathe you just walk on
please save all the data to the disk
if there’s a penguin on the tray it’s snowing but no one has coats when the bell rings this isn’t a talking time we are quiet mice yet syllables rise syllables fall consonants and high-pitched vowels melt together on our tongues
the cafeteria will furnish bagged lunches
green papers wave now everyone turn face the building we don’t know we don’t get the message but what does it matter lead us back to our seats to the carpet quickly quietly now everyone sit down now everyone breathe
the last person in closes the door
she speaks monotonously to the bend in the wall. she drones.
outside this window the field is full of birds: pairs of killdeer, of canada geese.
a red-tailed hawk circles then lands on the broken goalpost.
I turn away; I turn into the cave of this room.
sun binds the space between us.
your mouth is a straight line — a vow of anger, of silence.
this branch like a small tree
kernels | summer edition 2013
always in the country
always in the middle of a fallow field
the wound beneath its roots is a passage
a rabbit hole a secret door
a drink in a jar
its flowers are finished
its fruit is still green
hurry is forgotten
a handful of sand thrown across the river
not even the wind
am I dust to you?
am I ash?
a gasp swirling in gravitational pull?
a cloud of sloughed off cells
am I blessed to you?
am I a pulse?
in this instant
in this shared ride
in this unbalanced slide into blue
(when you slap me do you feel my wings?)
this is the mist
this is the road that curves
this is the air
this is the linen
these are the edges that tatter
these are the bones
this is the mirror
this is the silver deposited
this is my skin
this is the art
this is the smallest unit of life
this is the sparrow
wordle 92 and wordle 93
“Come with me, Mama Goose!
I know where your baby is."
— Puss in Boots
of this palace
each step a bitter virtue
within success this hidden
I lie awake
to the fire
searching through that tumult
for the clarity of my diminishing
I’ll ditch these
to be king
wordle 90 and wordle 91
she smokes like a chimney
she is brandishing an unfiltered cigarette
we cross a bridge
the coke-stink of this town hangs between us
like a tombstone
we pass the tobacco field
a green infusion into a rural wasteland textured with steel
and mountains stripped of coal
there’s always snakes in the tobacco field
(she says) I roll down the window
the sun ekes through empty branches
it breaks onto the slurping river
glinting like rows of tires in a junkyard
you know I told him to stop
(she says) I told him
she crushes the cigarette between her fingers
I look at houses flying past like abandoned railcars
boards on the doors gaping windows sad sagging roofs
I really believe her this time
I forget about the snakes (shiny black and thick as a tire)
yeah (she says)
there’s always snakes
the sunday whirl