By TOM SLEIGH
1. Many desires, many secrets—that’s what the book said.
And it brought me to attention, watching the interior
branches of the pine trees swaying in a paranoid
whisper that reminded me of you standing over
me, your hand in my hand, your mind
not right but your whispering rebelling against
that hissing shhhh of what I couldn’t understand—
By MARIE GAUTHIER
They hack their way through the wild
kingdom of the back yard
while she alights on a chair, her book
unopened on the grass, more
rest for her glass than her eyes,
which follow to foil: spoiled
moods, spilled blood, numinous
harms yet undreamt.
By TIMOTHY WATT
Long ago I found myself in a dark wood wandering, a tale-teller with no tale to tell. How I’d come to be in that place, I don’t know. I was there shivering, empty, trying and failing to remember the tales I’d told, in times past, in ages before. I couldn’t remember any of them, much as I tried to conjure characters in the throes of a verb, scenes in rooms, conversations, anecdotes, themes. And soon after—I don’t know when, time like the night was monochrome and either too rapid in its passing to be tracked at all, or statuesque, cold and still—I found I no longer knew what a tale itself was, its contours and constituent parts, its reasons, its design. It was then I heard a slow crashing in the timber behind me. I did not look up. There was nothing consoling to be seen. Before me stretched a vast lake, a lake whose color rendered all previous understandings of black, blue, a lake of terrifying calm. The surface was glass, unrippled and hulkingly silent, and the lake did not lap against any of its shores. It was—I see it now—a body of water in an attitude of petrifaction.
By ROSANNA OH
As you undo the cuff links in your shirt,
the waiter taps me on the shoulder
and tells me that we are the last customers.
Your fish is cold.
I am waiting in the restaurant, thinking you have gone to piss—
instead, I order dessert
as you press yourself against the sink,
scratching at my name,
scouring me with water and soap.