Pull the Trigger. Multiply.
No one bothered to ask. I expressed regret over breakfast—
between bites of overcooked ham and eggs, petting Missy’s ashen forehead with one hand—
that she wouldn’t live to see my book on the shelves. It was meant as a joke, like
the way people put puppies in strollers and push them around at the park.
I should’ve known better
than to be candid with family.
First comes grief,
then comes money.
The eggs should’ve been a red flag, I suppose. Lou says
it’s all about the eggs-as-shells, small
genetic suitcases, hollowed out, hereditary
trojan horses, anonymous vessels from donor
hounds whose toothsounds are lost
somewhere in that backwoods lab.
The second one doesn’t like me. She refuses Missy’s bed
in favor of the floor, relishing
in her outsider status. I wonder
if she holds a place in the collective canine shadow, if her subconscious flickers
with memories of fire and flesh.
Maybe she just sees bubbles in formaldehyde
when she closes her eyes.
She never knew Missy.
She does not know me.
Her eggmother is a cur on the streets of Seoul, the only
kiss she knows is inoculation, her puppy pictures
are backlit with inlay and fluorescence.
I put the Milkbones back in the cabinet when she snubs them
It took this long to figure out that it was never about me.
Author’s note: In 1998, the "Missplicity" project was founded in an attempt to clone the first dog, a mutt named Missy who was owned by Joan Hawthorne Sperling. Joan's son launched the project, which eventually produced a number of successful Missy clones. One clone, Missytoo, was given to Joan. She complained that the dog did not have her beloved pet’s personality, and did not care for it.
Look at these—
my paintings a crime
scene of colors—layers above and below one
another like paint peeled away
by some petulant child. No wonder
I haven’t sold any.
Do you pity me, Nicolai? Is that why
you look at me with the light of that
oscillations in the orchestra pits of your eyes? If you were so compelled,
you’d compose me a symphony, balancing
dustbitten furniture on
a pin head, calling me
dancer, seraph, angelic.
Whatever my mother saw in you, I think that now
I see it too, that need
to fuck with far away, beyond things.
You’d be happy
if we all fell to our knees. I’m sure
you’d bend those strings
of light to Order’s will if only you
could lift the earth with your song for
you want to hold
the multiverse, like snowflakes on eyelashes—
benevolent. A playful god. But
our art is on borrowed time; entropy
is a fickle friend and
claiming to collar it is arrogance that separates
and takes and takes—
I cannot idle while your
devil’s hands play, while you ignore
our children like they are
the two truths of a coin flip. I used to see
now I can only toy
with quarters until
my odds meet together,
curdled around your cerebellum
and you call back the rules one by one
before we desecrate them—a switch
behind a panel
in the dusty end
hallway of your mind—something flipped.
And as the gate closes behind your fist slips
into his visage, the face that so many nights held your simpering
in clay hands, softness desiccated
in a baptism of red.
you tell me it’s upsetting how rapidly I metamorphize obsession to loathing, seeping
into sulci and gyri like rose wine spilled on concrete runs through fractures
onto the synapse black tar of the street that is/was your need for me.
I’m surprised I still hear your voice struggling through static on my Panasonic, given our
We used to hold hands heavy on the playground to keep each other steady and
it wasn’t a two-way street, and
people like you need things like me. You can
renounce your devotion, banish derelict emotion, but I’ll still bleed
into whichever asshole stumbles into my pitfalls first
without even having to leave.
I’m metaphysical, all-pervading, spirituality—
the crown child of a race who creates their own divinities.
You’re just a solitary nucleus in a sea of cells,
the apoptosis already building in the scaffolds of your roots.
cavities of past camaraderie,
becoming more void
than girl. That is how you want to die.
And you will.
This will destroy you.
I should know.
i am small and white
so they call me yako. their foxfire
rollicking like lantern light
between pursed eyelids. they say
that i shouldn’t try my luck. that someday
a man will see me
and be fearful for his wife
and he will shoot me
and that will be the end of that.
my mother thinks
i am the color of cinders
and suspended, before they
hit the ground, before they
turn blight and silent
when the snow comes,
i nestle into the deep
and the others do not see me,
and here i can pretend that they never see me,
and that i will not become embers when i die,
and that my spirit will not hang itself, evanescent
and that i will not seep through into the grey of soil
i’d like to melt when i hit the ground instead,
i’d like to stay in my othershape,
and sometimes i try to hold
form by balancing
the light in my chest
and sculpting it,
ingrain and grow
and so they call me yako.
but my foxfire is not an ember waiting
to die between brain and bullet
could be divine so i
try my luck.
someone will see me
and want me for a wife
and they will love me
and that will be the end of that.
The Heathen Woman with the Crucifix
I was baptized in a sea—
what could’ve been wine
or blood. I remember the wings
that came to take you, how they exposed the sky
like your end was daylight
and not a harbinger of a fresh death
that rippled across the world like an ache.
Wet pools in the runs of my face
and abdomen like fingers brushing
in the sign of the three before pointing
—a compass conceived in the palm of a hand.
That is what you left me.
My words stay sequestered in swollen throat.
What remains of your light
now throttles me, a choke chain pulled
that this world
is as lifeless as its God.
You live within this
twisted cross that stings stigmata and sweat
into the skin of my chest, even when I
make love to him you’re
is an absence to be filled—
that’s why I keep you.
One more ward
to pour myself into,
one more tally
mark around my neck.
Ectopic child that you are, you fail to respect the sanctity
of life, springing
from the garden of death.
above your head like mocking halos,
and you harp in a voice both biting and without weight,
cursing those who dared create you.
molded a body both formidable and jagged, capably gnawing
through womb and umbilical collar.
You feel this absence—
the space around your neck that aches
Even the bleak of the sun fails
to darken the skin.
Infinity is cauterizing—like a neutered dog,
you are driven forward
by vague purpose alone.
There is temperate humanity here, in clotted limbs
an augustine state of indifference.
Your ego is altered chemistry, the flux
of fluids and electricity behind eyes,
the softest spots
sink the most heat.
And the perfect state of mind is a fever dream.
in the style of Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons
I have orders to strike a match. The match is reasonable. Kindling can catch on hatches complete candied
The yarn is a flammable catch, too. Assuming a cat. Assuming that cats lack what they check. The yarn is
Watch untangled fire like a door latch. Switch them, switch them and fix it tight. The object in the fire
can’t help that loose screw that emphasizes this.
This is the sway it is.
The way it hits the box on its way to charge, strike once. Twice.
Feather dust mends us. Tends to the rusted swings of the needlepoint. Feathers make late playmates.
Feathers wait for us.
Use the dust to coat a fruit. Conjure melon trust between skirt squares. Squares on the rubble black.
Black ribbon can’t play without us. Use the dust.
Use and be used and usher flooded juice. Sticky between ribbons flung out to make some sense of it. I’m
it first, then the feather.
Shush and mend against us both. Bent brackets can draw a butterfly. Kisses.