Harp & Altar
Roseanne Carrara

Andy Fitch
from Island

Eileen G'Sell

Amy King
Necessary Instinct

Jesse Lichtenstein

Stephen Sturgeon
Three Elegies for Landis Everson

G.C. Waldrep

Necessary Instinct
Amy King

I got myself so smart, America,

I was well heeled and oiled

in the Smithsonian—

they serve your tea in tiny glass

cups and dust mites

enter your eyes. I say I am that

dust mite, I go

through the cosmos’ hallways,

finger the stalks of your dreams,

wear my rabbit tie and tree hat

to your tweed reception,

I light the water fuselage

of one of us on fire wracked

with the killer intent, the husband less

for the other expected,

and we can’t discern whose large bowel

is laced between which fingers,

what courage in place

of the Caligula-intent

renders me controlled

but not his own cure-in-diagnosis.

This health of tried-and-true,

of how we just motto our way

from front to backdoor planet

without going around adds men

to the bedroom drift cocooned

in his female filament. She is thick,

cotton, absorbent absence side-saddled.


Later the geese surround our home,

death dreamers sleep closer, Medusa

and Robert Frank focus my face

in a clock of flames, a peacock

on the verge of lake ministries,

a wet elbow that knocks

door hinges from the cock-block’s frame

that I am too helpless or complain

with a tuxedo energy: mine, yours,

the secrecy of the same cricket stings

the white bee on her back

into a scorpion who wants only

to break bread in August and death again

turns the knob, and he beats that horse

to the neighbor of death

where we sit, sup and watch

an angel’s switchblade stand guard.

This isn’t a room of one atmosphere.

This isn’t a room in the vein of Alice Neel.

This solitude isn’t question

or vertigo walking

the eyes of the passengers here now.

This is one long echo through

the pilgrims’ entrails;

they shave the sun, but I never wanted

a man to do those things,

to ask me about peripheral vision

or slide against

the layers of his skeleton.

These same rugged bodies drag a sea

of talking heads on the ropes of veins

between us chanting,

chatting, chattering the long dried bones

of graves, the mouth sounds

brittle cracks dust up with

a tender step

to frontier in all

foreseeable directions,

the burning bush as in

no such thing but

the burnt-out basements,

bombs and we preying

mantis youth fuck once

and die long lives,

these horse skeletons singing

wind through the cartilage

of our dark damp skin.