Poetry | March 01, 2008

Featuring poems from Landscapes with Origins:

  • [In the break room]
  • [Against my will]
  • [The slow child, the small child]
  • [Worm of concession]
  • [This father and daughter]
  • [Midwinter: she doesn’t reach]


[In the break room]

In the break room

the mill holds us

in its mouth:

the graveyard shift

and its floodlights:

Sally’s buying a new trailer:

Tony’s truck’s about paid off:

a certain stillness

between us:

Jake’s back in jail

for getting rowdy:

we are among the chosen:

someone’s daughter

stays up all night

eating her own hair:

a woman on 3rd Street

applies makeup to a corpse

she’s recently washed:

a cop drifts over a fog line

in his Crown Victoria:

the foreman’s girlfriend

stands in the corner:

Todd thinks she looks

like a country singer:

the way her hair shines

like a bare bulb

over broken glass:

she’s new here:

her painted fingernails:

she rests her hand

on the animal of sleep

and it leans

against her leg:

in fifteen minutes

she’ll crawl up a ladder

into a metal cage

where hot sheets of plywood

will shoot out

one after another

like a satanic card trick,

and she’ll guide them

by the edge, in midair,

and let them drop

to the sorter,

until she closes her eyes

just long enough

to catch the rhythm

of her own breath

and float upon the waters

where the animal of sleep

winds through the cattails:

she’ll feel the calm

of starlight subtracted

from daylight:

then a sheet of veneer

will tear open her face:

the mill holds us

in its mouth:

a corpse’s hands

are placed together:

the cop drives his cruiser

into the river:

which will soon fill

with a daylight

our curses may

or may not

ever reach.

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