Let this harvest issue be your invitation to trust that seeds are being planted, that violets will—in their soft and fragile nature, yes—break through the rocks.
We laid atop a wasp nest. I was stung, but thought it was a dream.
Listen to the palpitating of this horse / heart and I will answer in the language // underneath this skin.
The boys have never seen him, don’t believe he’s real, but the girls all whisper about the latest boogeyman, the Deer Lord they see outside their bedroom windows at night; the deer who wears a human skull over his own face.
Every spot she has dug so far has felt lucky, magnetized, like some divine force led her to those coordinates; and each spot has been barren, empty, desolate.
I don’t own a cheese grater. capitalism makes this okay.
Once, I offered pieces of myself to every man—my hands, my coins, my words—
I’m instantly reminded of why I skipped the last few of these—the room is all hot breath and squeezed shoulders, and I have two giants in front of me blocking my view. One wears a blue topcloth with the words Garbage to Curb carefully painted across the back, staring me in the face.
For the hole inside you, never filled: a stolen bag of cherries. Spit the pits into your hands and go to sleep with stained palms against your hard, round stomach, pretending you can feel kicking feet.
The paths are unmarked, the trees wary of strangers. But I keep dried fish on hand, honeysuckle, ropes and knives, for the rare occasion of company.
A sister’s dry palm in my left, a sister’s wet palm in my right, the winter wind there on my throat; we sang the songs only learned at midnight, when the ordinary and the secular slept.
Imagine her saying, as she settles, “Good God, Ben, my constant pessimist. Give it a rest. I’m not here to fry.” And imagine a pebble loosened from the clifftop, falling. Impacting her skull. There would be damage.
And, too, the minding of where to step – the one rotten apple in the shade with the bees feasting.
In my history, I was the prettiest girl in town who was seduced by the summer eclipse or the hellion who stole the keys of Daddy’s 1958 Impala
Her many-boned arm comes out and there in her hand is a tattoo gun, already buzzing and dripping ink.
What I can’t quite say to my husband, or to myself: that it is you I am thinking of as I take the armadillo from the shelf.
There’s nothing quite so sinister as a hot wind on a California night.
Juan's skeleton walks out of the water, his bones dripping with bulbous ribbons of olive-green seaweed.
You bump into White Boy on a parched, irreverent Wednesday morning, power-walking your way to line up for the three hour commute at 6 AM, and too loud he announces, I am in love with your country.
I need to speak now; he’s expecting it. Waiting for an answer. Summoning all my energy, I push the air from my lungs, forcing it over the golf ball wedged in my throat.
Hope is a naked goose that made a wrong turn somewhere.
When I first saw that my mother was running for mayor I was in the grocery store. It was the morning and I wasn’t doing too well and the check-out girl was wearing this big blue pin with my mother’s big white face on it.
Last week I / courted the moon from a stop sign.
we were plunged into the river / and made holy the pale man
In the old days, we burned the bodies of fossils to keep warm.
I found you bitty in a snap pea, plucked you out and swallowed you whole, / rivered your body through my insides and grew it quietly. What bad men? we say.
Down here at the bottom of the year, the greenest thing is moss.
and on the eighth day, my grandfather’s church organ fell down heaven’s / winding staircase & became a persimmon tree the size of my fist.
Stuck in the basement where the TV was, out of Mom’s way, I’d pinch the well-timed edge and prolong the pull-away, the cling of flesh where the glue most adhered, the release, the skin’s snap back to itself.
My lawyer asks if I’m ready to listen to all five of our 911 tapes.
I'll give you until midnight, she said, and I could tell she meant it. She opened her eyes wide so that her mascaraed lashes stood out like the rays of small black suns.
You decide I’m going to shoot myself out of a cannon this coming Sunday. “How romantic,” you coo, even though it was your idea in the first place.
You’re not the one in the bathtub with screams stuffed like wet rags down her throat, the girl who eats herself inside out with silence, who so desperately needs some help right about now but does not want to be a bother.
the kind that stinks like shit & empties you. to say i can’t, for whatever reason, take this shit, but for days now have felt like i need to.
My birth certificate is an inventory of negative space. FATHER'S NAME. FATHER'S PLACE OF BIRTH. FATHER'S AGE. All of these data fields are empty, clean of the typewriter keystrokes that might otherwise list all the facts my mother knew.
It’s been a while since I rooted for a straight romance, but I can’t help gunning for this little blenny. He’s turned himself completely black except for his one bright orange fin and now is doing a hell of a seductive dance for the ladyfish.
we teach ourselves to crack without spilling over / the egg before it does not hatch
Nargis hits and we belch out thought and memory. / Overturned electric lines crackle with teeth.
The girls climb down under the bridge. Below them, the river is dark and still, a surface so solid it almost doesn’t look like it could drown you.
Bounce on the floor. Suckle me his absurd Hubba Bubba chew by chew chewing will I? No.
I eat paintings the way a woman eats bibles — in the back corners of used book stores, the cracked leather and faux gilt burn her