A poem by Maureen Alsop

Here is some more great work from our readers at the upcoming Augury Books & Friends offsite AWP reading/shindig in Seattle. The reading will be at Noble Neon, 3130 Airport Way S on Friday, February 28th from 7:30 until we all feel like going back to our hotels. If you’ll be in Seattle, please join us! Today’s poem is by Maureen Alsop and appears in her book Mantic which we were happy to publish last year.

Photo by Dave Bledsoe of FreeVerse Photography


divination by walking around a circle of letters until dizzy you fall down on the letters or in the direction to take

So you go wither. Go muscled in foxglove. So the surface of passionflower’s scent known

to the lungs will be touched by the mouth. So a camera’s song leans

over the guardrail. So the graffiti of circles. So lexicon is devoured by chalk

in the grassland. So omega. So bilge. So yesterday the tradition of order was left

to the entangled hawfinch. So I refused. So I am not a lady. Not your supper jug. Your

hunt of her. So dumpling, who’s your fried chicken? Even in neon-fragment. Even in

mastic-erotic-red. Your taste of me dispensed. So inconsolable keystrokes do not

withdraw from honesty, as honesty is in itself inconsolable.

So found I was without you. I do not remember how you left. Transparent, history

steeped in your head. So I held my finger to the small

blossoms of your eyelids. So I told the sun

to go. And there it spread. So flagstone. So eaglet.

Maureen Alsop, author of Mantic, available to order here, has new poems appearing at Watershed Review, Citron Review and ditch.

A poem by Eric Smith

The Vanishing Doomed Boy Trick

Morning begins with a blueprint and I erect

my body’s skyscraper with it: seventeen stories

of glass and steel, my reflection in every window.

Even if the body is its own preparation

for failure, who knew it would be this

catastrophic? Or this fun? The streets are a mess

with the debris of a thousand failed Wednesdays

and my chest is ringing.

   It’s the foreman. Again.

I can see from my perch at the end of this girder

that tests the air with its rust-colored tongue

that the foreman wears a yellow hardhat and favorite

flannel, a cell glued to his ear. He’s such a nice man.

Down on the street, they’re inflating a lung

of bright plastic. That’s probably my secretary

on the curb. A knot of uniforms is trying to herd her

and a number of other people across the street.

The foreman reminds me I doesn’t have to do this.

I shout back, “the temporary respite

that insanity offers is still on the table,

licking itself.”

          And while I scratch myself in places

that are inappropriate, I promise I’m in no danger.

Even if this brain is a malfunctioning bumper car,

and I am a forgotten grammar without cases,

the trees are peeling with an arboreal mange,

and I hold in his hand the dried-out hearts

of every mouse who ever chewed insulation,

I can say I’m fairly comfortable

trusting the lime green paradox of the mojito.

Listen to these electric hymns to mosquitos,

all the symmetries evolution gave up on

when it put us together.

Now watch me disappear.

Eric Smith’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Five Points,
Greensboro Review, Measure, Pleiades, and Smartish Pace. He is an
editor for Cellpoems and teaches at Marshall University.