Felipe

I saw Felipe yesterday. It was the first time I’d seen him since his brother’s wedding, and he looked just the way he’s always looked when he was sleeping. He’s slept the same way since we were born. Mouth open, the thoughtful look on his face accompanied by a scab or scrape for good measure. Those scabs when we were …

Omri Kadim

Sometime Too Natural Shapes  Four vultures sit in silent conference It’s been observed they will not land To pick clean A carcass whose blood was let In the shape of a spiral. We should follow their example, Being scavengers.   Constellations of Necessity  As children We mapped the stars with peerless confidence Charting elephants, turtles And long-tailed snarling dragons   …

The Return

It was evening. We were standing near a line of trees that looked like conifers; the sky was darkening behind the trees. It was time to go back. This was the last crossing: our damaged equipment would permit no more. We had seen things that were almost impossible to believe. Ahead of us, our scientist turned a dial as her …

Cage

Here, this darker map of sand. Piss and otherwise. There, your steel bowls— water and dry food. The tarp blocks the sun’s worst,   but you keep to the shadows of your house. You’re a brooder— no pacing, no bark, bite indeterminate. From dark oblong of doorway,   yellow eyes give away nothing. Sometimes you emerge, pad across cage to …

Unwanted Graveyards

One October when I was eight, I made gravestones of me and my family. Perhaps I had a fascination with death. Perhaps I wanted to feel the stickiness of glue between my thumb and forefinger and the permanence of a Sharpie in my hand. I asked my mother to buy grey and brown construction paper—grey for the headstone, brown for …

Train at Night in the Desert

Georgia O’Keefe, 1916   Georgia, it’s been one hundred years since you stood in the dark Texas dawn and marveled at the multicolored haze clouding toward you down the track. You thought the rest of your life would unspool from Canyon, Texas. You wrote Alfred Stieglitz that you saw the train, thought of him, and blazed. You had never even …

Babelogue

Mary had the perfect imperfection, a small space in between her two front teeth, like Madonna or Lauren Hutton.  It was just what I needed, a flaw, to help me focus every fear I had of feeling happy.  Happy felt like another solar system – a curious and desired destination, I suppose, and yet unwelcome.  Nothing good could come of …

Karla Linn Merrifield

Mind Double   DNA is my totem pole, I shall not want. It leadeth me to lie down amid terrapins at low tide: It leadeth me beside coiled anacondas. It restoreth my limbic brain: It leadeth me on the tao of evolution for no one’s sake.   Yea, though I walk through the herpetological vestiges of primal fear, I will …

A Blessing

“You have a big head.  Can I touch it?” she asked bluntly.  The little brown hands approached my head like a priestess who was about to perform a ceremony, and give her first blessing.  Her hands felt cool on my scalp that has known brutality of many other hands, combs, hot combs, perms and finally an electric raiser, (cutting my …

Resurrection

die just once while you are still breathing here this moment where your skin is submerged and there is nothing to be owned bought lost or gained now omnipotence holding highest joy and utter despair one without preference stop everything and notice the flow of your life continues without pushing and pulling perhaps in spite of it die and wake …

Aurora

The last night I slept soundly was the night before my wheezing father announced the succession.  He named me – his daughter – as his heir.  He hoped aloud that my brother would advise me faithfully.  The pulsing vein in Damian’s forehead suggested otherwise.  With one word my father had severed our fraternal connection more effectually than any witch’s curse. …

Old Whitworth

Old Whitworth, a seventy-year-old dentist who should have retired a decade ago, endured in the practiced removal of ailing choppers. Yet his fees were a pittance in post-war years, offering irresistible rates – if you weren’t too particular about the origin of his dubious credentials. Whitworth, white-haired, save for rounded bald spot, reddened by anger from a patient who didn’t …