I wanted to write “stay”
on your sides, surround
your bed with oceans
of salt. I hope he folds you
into a fox, loves you
like a splintered arrow,
brandishes the kill
of your lips. May the bouquet
of your hips wither.
May the wolves
forget your name.

– J. Bradley

when you think about it, it is just like that. 


The Two Times I Loved You the Most In a Car

It was your idea
to park and watch the elephants
swaying among the trees
like royalty
at that make-believe safari
near Laguna.
I didn’t know anything that big
could be so quiet.

And once, you stopped
on a dark desert road
to show me the stars
climbing over each other
like insects
like an orchestra
thrashing its way
through time itself
I never saw light that way

– Dorthea Grossman

Day Dream

One day people will touch and talk perhaps easily,
And loving be natural as breathing and warm as sunlight,
And people will untie themselves, as string is unknotted,
Unfold and yawn and stretch and spread their fingers,
Unfurl, uncurl like seaweed returned to the sea,
And work will be simple and swift as a seagull flying,
And play will be casual and quiet as a seagull settling,
And the clocks will stop, and no-one will wonder or care or notice,
And people will smile without reason, even in the winter, even in the rain.

– A. S. J. Tessimond

Dirty Valentine

There are so many things I’m not allowed to tell you.
I touch myself, I dream.
Wearing your clothes or standing in the shower for over an hour, pretending
that this skin is your skin, these hands your hands,
these shins, these soapy flanks.
The musicians start the overture while I hide behind the microphone,
trying to match the dubbing
to the big lips shining down from the screen.
We’re filming the movie called Planet of Love-
there’s sex of course, and ballroom dancing,
fancy clothes and waterlilies in the pond, and half the night you’re
a dependable chap, mounting the stairs in lamplight to the bath, but then
the too white teeth all night,
all over the American sky, too much to bear, this constant fingering,
your hands a river gesture, the birds in flight, the birds still singing
outside the greasy window, in the trees.
There’s a part in the movie
where you can see right through the acting,
where you can tell that I’m about to burst into tears,
right before I burst into tears
and flee to the slimy moonlit riverbed
canopied with devastated clouds.
We’re shouting the scene where
I swallow your heart and you make me
spit it up again. I swallow your heart and it crawls
right out of my mouth.
You swallow my heart and flee, but I want it back now, baby. I want it back.
Lying on the sofa with my eyes closed, I didn’t want to see it this way,
everything eating everything in the end.
We know how the light works,
we know where the sound is coming from.
Verse. Chorus. Verse.
I’m sorry. We know how it works. The world is no longer mysterious.

– Richard Siken

Sure This Is the Last Time

last night I dreamed about your fingers on my flesh
my body too small to take your words anymore,
I am not your handpuppet, mister—last night I

screamed myself awake to more putrid memories
of you, the linoleum criss-cross pattern of
the laundryroom floor, some day I’ll tell them all, I

am not as stupid as you think

– Holly Day

The Butterflies

You unzip my dress, a curve from the side of my left breast to the top of my hip. My body is a column of butterflies. One by one, roused by the light and cool air, they wake from sleep. One by one they open their wings, responding to some deep internal pressure, the instinct to be free. They scatter in all directions; I learn what it means to be in many places at once.

– Shivani Mehta

Sometimes when you mean hello …

Sometimes when you mean hello I carry
you in my left ear for days. You go with me
to the grocery store for arguments
about the most beautiful head of broccoli
and salad. O, gorgeous bird, I dare us to go
on not caring. I have put down color all
over the map this week. Nobody has reached
me with their letters. I feel like two owls caught
with secret binoculars. Which is to say I
feel more than what I am. Which what
am I? Which does it hurt when two
people go on speaking? Call me and say
you are alive again.

– Wendy Xu & Nick Sturm