The POETIC DIALOGUE PROJECT
an exhibition of collaborative works by artists and poets

POETS

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SHEER, IF WE COULD BE



The premise is silk.

The argument gathers, long and narrow.

Tall and slim, but not slight.

Terrain, hills, rivers. Chinese ink.

As if we were drawn.

In shadow, it takes shape, admits space.

Like a photograph, but not of itself.

Lighter and darker, with pockets, places to rest.

As our shadows would be, if we could be seen through.

Dress wearing itself, covering nothing.

Draped suggestion.

Not concluded: position could shift.

Not to be done.

Ourselves suspended.


copyright Martha Collins
Martha Collins
Kathryn Dohrmann
IN A CAFE NEAR TUBA CITY, ARIZONA, BEATING
MY HEAD AGAINST A CIGARETTE MACHINE


                          the sea shall give up her dead;  and the corruptible bodies
                          of those who sleep in him shall be changed, and made like
                          unto his glorious body.
                                                                 The Book of Common Prayer

The ruptured Pontiac, comatose and tilted on three wheels,
seems to sink slowly like a drunken ship into the asphalt.
My wife wanders aimlessly farther into despair and an absence
of traffic, waving invisible semaphores along the embankment.
The infant we have misnamed after a suicidal poet writhes
in harness across my back, her warm urine funneling between
my buttocks, and her yowls rip like sharks through the grey heat.
But still beyond the screams I hear somehow the flutter
of chicken wings, buckets rattling, the howl of spaniels,
and my grandfather’s curse grinding against the dull, unjust sky
of God and Oklahoma.  I have given the waitress all my money,
and she has stuffed it into the heart-shaped pocket monogramed
with her ridiculous name and removed herself to the storeroom
with the cook who wants only to doze through the afternoon lull
undisturbed by a man who has yanked the PALL MALL knob
from the cigarette machine and now beats his head against
the coin return button while mumbling the prayer for the Burial
of the Dead at Sea which his grandmother taught him as a charm
against drowning in the long silences before tornadoes
and floods when Black Bear Creek rose on the Otoe
and the windmill began to shriek like a gang of vampires.
In the shards of the machine’s mirror I see the black line
of blood dividing my forehead and a dozen versions of my wife
sobbing now at the screen door while behind her our laundry
has flown free of the Pontiac’s wired trunk lid and drifts
like gulls across the vast sea, the difficult sea surrounding
Tuba City, Arizona, and my grandparents walk slowly
toward us over the water in the serene and noble attitude of gods.



copyright B.H. Fairchild
B.H. Fairchild
www.marthacollinspoet.com
www.lakeforest.edu/academics/faculty/dohrmann
ARCHEOMYTHOLOGY


                      

Say tonight the world ends, collapses
like a dying star, unfolds. No one
for a thousand, ten thousand years.
Say that our bones settle, comfortable
heaps, our human bones, relaxed
bony mounds, dogs with us. Say
when they come, as they will—
digging, prying—they’ll find
a circle of stones, tell-tale
hoops and here, with our bones,
jewelry, powder, female
accoutrements. Archeomythologists
will speculate, hypothesize.
Will they know we sang like loons,
howled like wolves, drummed and danced
antiphonies with a cycling moon?
Perhaps one among them, one
dimly imagined, will get it right,
will say: women, drummers. They
kept dogs, honored fire, loved the moon.


copyright Kathryn Dohrmann


CALYX, Volume 25, No. 1, Winter 2009