"Wetsuit, keep me in, keep me from breaking up."

More Perihelion:

Bob Sward's Writer's Friendship Series

Book Reviews

Need to Know



Issue 11: The Necessary Eye

Issue 10: Out on a Limb

Issue 9: The Missing Body

Issue 8: The Lily

Issue 7: Passages

Issue 6: No More Tears

A quick list to poets featured in this issue:

Melissa Ahart

Sommer Browning

Sarah Busse

devin wayne davis

Karen D'Amato

Yaakov Fichman

Donna Johnson

Vera Kroms

Li Bo

Li Qingzhao

Ander Monson

Christopher Mulrooney


Todd Samuelson

Maria Terrone

Mihai Ursachi

Sophie Wadsworth

G.C. Waldrep

Martha Zweig

Ander Monson

The Blood As Designated Driver

Comes to in the dead room, uneasy
at all the still light
frozen in the air, no dust
through which to filter, give it form
and register its passing.

Dwight Yoakam on the radio is cold and easy,
eerie how he echoes through the mausoleum
around the stop-time legs-up roaches, surveys
the tiny dead—why so many over winter?

Wondering blood, reliable as an axle
or winter blister, sensitive as a bone
or sinus, stick-shifts hearses
from one country to another every night.

The blood, fancying itself Orpheus the Red,
has a safe in the back of the hearse-bed
instead of a body as it crosses, so daring,
the International Bridge to Canada.

Rain and static in the air.

Something's always coming.

Are we in America, the blood would ask its father
(if it had a father; if he was driving with the blood
or wedged sideways in the safe, under combination
lock and number) as they crossed,
because the blood knows fathers and fathers know
these things; even wet wrenches that stand in
for fathers are permanent like rust, crosses,
and suspension bridges, are guaranteed to die.


I Thought Her Death Would Leave Me Pregnant,
Not Empty Like a Tomb

Ice crust on bloody glass, a round of salt on a margarita.

Read up on retrieval. Seals and how to break them.

Let that machine sulk until Spring when it's cheap to bring it up. Now, though,
we must haul the body up so it can be buried like a toy in a heated plot.

Wetsuit, keep both chill and touch away from the lattice of the skin.

Wetsuit, keep me in, keep me from breaking up.

Water, stiff & ceiling ice, allow your light to cascade down through cracks,
halo down through holes.

Last dance underwater with Liz.

Going down to get her in her car glass and bone Atlantis, lit by left, reflected

Don't come back up unmoved.

Liz my X my other tongue.

Dreamt about operations, the CPR and mouth-to-mouth, the tithe of breath
and spitting back to life.

Dreamt I was capable of dream again.
Dreamt I was capable of action.


Burn, Burn

Burn for X, for loss, for burning itself,
for the mantra that repeats/swings like a bell
in a cage in the tower that hasn't had use's grease
for hours but continues to toll,
extolling its maker, extolling the movement of air
through the window that looks like a cross.

Burn down the wall that keeps us from the river.

Burn down the stop sign that keeps cars from bursting into the intersection.

Let fire's grace take it all and convert it to gas and to ash
and to char that will move in the air
for years before settling.

Burn down the barn crushed under snow
when it melts and it dries enough
to go up without trouble.

Reduce it to ruin, home base for the chipmunks
that leave stitch-marks on the snow crust
after the sun has crisped it and left it to cool.

Subtract this from X,
from the hole in the ice on the skin of the lake,
from the scar left by retrieval,

Subtract this from substrate and glistening masses of rock
that lurk just below the surface
that will no longer bring profit to the mines
and the companies that employ the men
who dark their lungs for them by day.



Poor apocalypse, come down
off that dress, out of that coffer
with all the drab buttons
tithed before church
to the paper pattern god
cut out, glossy

while your brother eviscerates
gut-shot deer in his long pine day.
The blood trail leading him
to the animal's groan and shudder
is like a hem, will be let down
with another good snow. How
many buried lines of red signifying kills
are there beneath this winter's snow?

And is the snow like geologic
layers representing time
or an expensive white and frosted
wedding cake, custom-bakery-made
with bride and groom in the act
atop, now made idle

by the latest winter death
like so many fingers
hanging dumb from
an amputated limb.