ISSUE THIRTEEN | FALL 2019
Butchertown is flooding again,
stew bones clot into small
islands. Between our marrow
and muscle, a sopping
tongue of moonshine laps and laps,
and nothing is enough. Whereas,
when lymph bathes the tissue,
it drains on schedule,
like any tide. These cells
you’re collecting do not die
when they should.
See the ivy tear in slow motion
through a brick wall.
Too far and it earns a new name.
Our city is dying the way rust
coats some metals with a thin film, then
protects them. Like her stroke wiped away
all but the child, imposter cell
disguised in benign skin. Meanwhile, a comet
burns off its water and oxygen
in a furious light. No
corrosion, just a whittling-
down into eventual naught.
The radio says
there is no free will,
so it’s not my fault
that she should be forgiven
and I can’t.
You were born
here, like she was, but look
at your steady hand: meadow with the sun
melting down around it. This
is our city. I cycle back
as though compelled. One day,
in a spring tide, exposed silver
firmament: no more
waiting for the moon to hurt.
Blue crumbling off the night sky and you and I look good together, friend,
crawling around blindly feeling for holes in the dirt flakes of blue chalk
on our fingers We invent the dark again and again They say there was life
before this scrabbling paws, hooves compacting the worms, the worms
persisting Here is the trick: you hold the hare by its ears then distract it
We drew stars by not chalking in those parts Or the audience hiccups
and the hare transforms into a pigeon There’s a blue beam burrowing straight
down into the earth beside the interstate We are smeared to our elbows
each hole empty and we’ve found no evidence of anything below or above
Still, is it so wrong to believe we are just a mole away from important This
is our dream: see its small nose squirming between two degenerative eyes
Hard to call progress but we try Let’s be very clear Home means to kneel
on the same earth beside each other means as the night feathers into a fickle end
folding our arms behind our heads, cars churning by and drawing the same
constellations in the sky by eliminating everything else survival being
the noblest goal and flying being antithetical to it, changing the pigeoned hare
once more into something blind to the stars but belonging better
to this earth than I ever did, tunneling always through enchantment
Erin L. McCoy, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, holds an MFA in poetry and an MA in Hispanic studies from the University of Washington. Her poem, “Futures,” was selected by Natalie Diaz for inclusion in Best New Poets 2017, and her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Pleiades, DIAGRAM, Cimarron Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and other publications.
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