& here they are: the left-most coast.

The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels, on the Porciúncula River.

Easier, he admits, just to say L.A.

Plainly not alluvial, no longer a floodplain, the climate seems wild, spooky in its mildness.

Annexations & consolidations, grandiloquence & excess.

Ann lived here after they graduated—Nebraska has given you all she has to offer, said the commencement speaker.

Oil, orange juice, the sperm of movie stars.

Craning his neck at a variety of angles, Robinson sees no angels.

Less couple-in-a-car, more leaf-blown-about-on-the-earth-by-the-winds, they decide to crash at the Portal Motor Hotel—

a Motel, got it, but a portal to what?

They will go out at night: clarinets & trumpets—a maze of jazz.

Bred to earn his daily bread, Robinson once dropped out of vocational psych.

The motto of the city: augment augment augment.

Bored by pioneers, Robinson tries to be pioneering.

Prospector without prospects, or potentially too many?

Cement cement cement buries all trace of the old enterprise of gold.

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press. Her most recent books include the essay collection For You, For You I Am Trilling These Songs (Counterpoint, 2010) and the poetry chapbook, After Robinson Has Gone (Greying Ghost Press,2011).With Elisa Gabbert, she is the author of That Tiny Insane Voluptuousness (Otoliths, 2008). Her second full-length collection, Robinson Alone Provides the Image, is forthcoming from Gold Wake Press in November 2012.

A Poem by Finalist Lily Ladewig

More Like a Compass

this hat gives me a direction.
There are occasions for hats
and a hat for every occasion.
But this is just the opposite.
I wake up naked and put this hat on
my head before deciding
what the day will wear.


Lily Ladewig’s poems have appeared in Conduit, Denver Quarterly, H_NGM_N, Salt Hill, and SUPERMACHINE. She is the author of the chapbooks You Are My Favorite Person of the Year (Mondo Bummer Press, 2010) and, with Anne Cecelia Holmes, I Am A Natural Wonder (Blue Hour Press, 2011). Her first full-length book, The Silhouettes, was a finalist for Augury Books inaugural Editors’ Prize and will be published by SpringGun Press in 2012.