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Nervous System

Rosalie Moffett

           

            Terrifically alone in tulips

                        the rain made of the South China Sea

            I swam toward a tiny island scrimmed with washed-up coral

 

                         and purple shells.

            I saw how many perfect ones

                        waited for me. Giddy,

 

            ashore, I pawed through them, straightened up

                        only when my hands were full. It was

            like realizing I’d put on someone else’s jacket

           

            by accident. The joy was not my own.

                        My mother was the one

            who could never leave

 

From WHAT HANGS ON THE SIDE OF THE MOUTH

Rosebud Ben-Oni

Amaranthine & thinning the mist
Amaranthine skinned she & I drift
Through the bird market
Through yuen po street
Your mother is squeezing my hand
We should go home & sleep
How long has it been
Pricks
Eye & fist
I know all the birds by name
I am reciting somewhere else
Amaranthine
After a gulf coast hurricane
I'd mend leg fracture & wing
Shelter in enclosures open &
Wild I learn the winged
Amaranthine 
Awakening
Hard & thin
I run after
Never again
Will I see so many
Wild amazons the truest I'll ever know
Squalling over the rio grande
Here I no longer belong to them
In a market I cannot click & sing
To peach-faced lovebirds
& overcrowded cages of parakeets
I don't know what keeps

Irreversible

Paige Lewis

One minute she was dancing—a faint
                layer of sweat, a tight blue dress—and then.
Her boyfriend said her death sounded
                like humming, said he'd never put his hands
on love again. When God's not looking, X
                and I scrape around for videos of this
woman's spontaneous combustion. We
                don't really have to be quick about it—
God's blinks last a long while: X could twine
                the beaks of twenty starlings and still have
time for a nap. I could wear a belt of figs
                and mantis wings while begging X to
blow on my pink belly, and still—Hell, I
                could sweep dirt under God's eyelid and
bear witness to the nothing that comes of it. 

If It Pleases

Christopher J. Adamson

I           first am an impostor,
Then an improper        vacationer among the ruins of error, 

Then am porous in the mouth—                      violent, redundant.
Land of heartless brothers. Land of the unwed. 

Of the callous and the harsh climate, or so they have said. Of the why and un-why-ed.
I have kept my promise to the sky, she lied. I have lied for you, she lied. 

And in the eye of the undusted daughter, anointed and unbothered, was I.
Flawed from all of this I have fled. It was awfully unlawful to flee, 

But me, I cannot keep to laws. I could not see to see.
Unwilling witness,                   bodies outsourced to the sea.

 

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