n a t a s h a    k e s s l e r

j o s h u a    w a r e

from SVDIG

 

VI


VII


VIII









































VI

 

In mingled blood, no one grows without breaking. We donít
commune without breadcrumbs. We donít
leaven in the night for tomorrowís hunger. We donít
mount our heads on the wall after dinner. We donít
head into mountains to walk off dinner. We donít
translate skin into meantime's words. We donít
mean with words when skin works just well. We don't
parse bodies from words, words from beast. We don't
stew ligaments or bake tangled tongues. We donít
sever the sinews that hold us together. We donít
pay in verse for time-lapsed minds. We donít
preserve memories in formaldehyde. We donít
piece ourselves together with glue. We donít
hear feathers in this machine forcing us to float.

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VII

 

A feather in this machine forces us to float
from forest to city, avian gears of energy. Or
not just a feather, but a bird with modified limbs.
A parallax mouths triangulation, singing difference
through the distance of space: we know those stars
are far away, moving faster than we
can see. Faster than the seaís rolling waves turning
tides, tied to the bottom with an anchor. Or
tied to nocturnal flowers, their poison
faces, and steady seedpods rattles. Or
the saddle-ready palomino nods
and whinnies as water-levels rise in the stable
after the levees breach. The guessing-bird loses
her threaded voice faster than we can drown.

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VIII

 

Threading her voice faster than we can drown
down deeper depths, she whispers liquid secrets,
liminal and salty in her quiet breaths, in and out and in
again: passage for language held too tight. Past ages
cooked or raw, reread between lines, respoken
through baleen (whalebone filtering watersongs)
into damp missives. Lines gnaw letters
for swallowing. Swallowing saltwater, salt and water
fragment. Fragments compose new
bodies: face parts fade under white lights, mouths
unstrung, breath colored by shifting senses: sentences
press against unpainted walls and unsung songs
in potlatch poems. At what speed does a body unravel,
and how does an ending end eternally?

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NATASHA KESSLER lives in Omaha, Nebraska, where she is finishing her MFA in poetry at the University of Nebraska. She co-edits the online poetry journal Strange Machine. Her work has appeared in many journals, such as Sugar House Review, RealPoetik, Sixth Finch, and is forthcoming in Blue Mesa Review, Gigantic Sequins, and Red Lightbulbs.


JOSHUA WARE eats corn the long way. His first book, Homage to Homage to Homage to Creeley, won the 2010 Furniture Press Poetry Prize and is now available.


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