"This is my first chapter on home forensics, and this is my new girlfriend, Sea-Bass."

More Perihelion:

BobSward's Writer's Friendship Series


Needto Know



Issue9: The Missing Body

Issue8: The Lily

Issue7: Passages

Issue6: No More Tears

A quick list to poets featured in this issue:

Quan Barry

Cal Bedient

Joshua Bell

Nadia Colburn

Carolina Ebeid

Odysseas Elytis

Nathalie Handal

Connie Hershey

Timothy Liu

Drago Stambuk

Franz Wright

Joshua Bell

The Horse Leech's Daughter

The Horse Leechís Daughter is a closed system. Samuel Beckett

From a coffin hinge you've made yourself
a wedding ring, and I hear you can't get to sleep these days

without perfuming your bathroom mirror
on the spot where the reflection of your white neck

rises each morning, like an intestine,
as if even your glassed-up jugular could pump

the required lavender heat to send the stable hands
running to you with your daddy's leather

satchel, packed with the good daughter's cure.
Don't you think I saw the pair of coveralls

in your closet, above the fingerprint kit,
below the formaldehyde jar, beside your ether-

soaked rags, the day I left? And here, I am king
of all I survey-a teapot, the ocean down the street,

and one hundred oblong egg-casings spacing
the beach: the water's insectile come-ons, bereft of hope and slime.

This is my first chapter on home forensics,
and this is my new girlfriend, Sea-Bass.

Look at her dress, so rough and slippery.
And look, my time has come, my name on the next superfetatory convulsion

of the earth, on into a fresh, libertine nexus,
a crease in one of god's little footprints,

but there are so many names mouldering
in the bone-yard, without bodies to inhabit.

Like the peg-legged dog of an old crypt-raider
I will fetch you a new name like a bone

from the dirt, when your time comes,
and I will fetch you your slippers and your pipe, when the time comes.

Some days I watch the ocean down the street,
and it's like with a tongue that the water cuts

the sand into ribbed shelves, and it's like with love
that the tongue drools on the taut, brown stomach

of the beach, and it's like the tide that I invent
a thing to love, then cover it with water.


Pantoum for Houston (Directorís Cut)

Well here we are in love again & donít you fly
& hide your pretty face from me, Houston.
I havenít had hands in thirteen years.
When I had hands, there was a pink planet hidden

inside a pretty face, Houston, a pink pill
stuck in the throat. It was so hard to get it down.
When I had hands there was a pink planet hidden
& sad stories of how I lost my hands, pink

& stuck in the throat, so very hard to get them down.
Lt. Jackson reads my private mail, sad letters
w/theories on what happened to my hands.
She hunts archaebacteria w/tiny sharpened words

& secretly she reads my private mail, although-
it must be said-she also writes my private mail.
She hunts archaebacteria w/tiny sharpened words
or chews the air so I can breathe, & like I said-

must it be said?-she also writes my private mail,
ie, please save your spit in a jar or I will milk you
& then she chews the air to paste so I can breathe
& asks me whereís the scalpel, please? or music please?

or please save your spit in a jar or I will milk you
like a viper. Iíve read everything Jupiter published.
Whereís the scalpel when the music in me
is a giant spider? Swallow me gently, Houston,

like a viper. Iíve read everything Jupiter published
& I donít think Jacksonís much of an actress, her
or the giant spider. Swallow me, Houston, gently
feed me my lines, my pink hands are missing

& I donít think Iím much of an actress. I havenít
had hands in thirteen years. Feed my lines
to Lt. Jackson & use my hands to mime the story
of Here We Are In Love Again & Donít You Fly.



I finished the baggie of blue pills
that made the planets so tolerable.
The toy hula girl on top of my dresser

sends her regards, although she
doesn't dance until I touch her,

and Ramona, do you have any new pills
you're not using, any spare lows

for your only boy? I fell hard
for the mailbox, I sent flowers to

that mailbox, I went fishing
in the reservoir, but they'd drained it

twenty feet. Your lost lures glared
cheaply under the morning sun,

which was a plug in a reprobate
bathtub. Will we drain up

instead of down? If we go down
is that the first we're heard of?

Yes. I'm tired of the astrologies,
the icy pharmaceutical rites

that are enough for me. I grow old.
I encounter philosophy at night.

Iím concerned that what we have
is each other, for as long
as prescribed, and I can tell

by the skin beneath your eyes
that as far as I go, it's your word
against the universe and sleep.