Empty

Laura Mullen
Huge crystalline cylinders emerge from the water

The future

Where do they come from the King gushes these talking fish
Show me at once

We see the writer buried under a collapsing mountain of scribbled-over
papers
While ink blurts from an overturned bottle

Speech is silver the King mutters
Silence is

They discover a fabulous ancient city

Black lake
Flag of smoke

Where we turned to look

Skulls, bats, stars, spirals, lightning bolts
Words spoken in anger
Flowers for sarcasm

The sequence continued to work in references to the brevity of life

Garlands of flowers
Stars signaling physical impact

They discover a fabulous ancient city
Under the water
None of the inhabitants

'Be reasonable . . .'

Increasingly faint trace of inked 
Flowers delicate

After that 

Cat catch
The decree

Eradicate

Copyright © 2005 by Laura Mullen. From Subject. Reprinted with permission of the University of California Press.

Copyright © 2005 by Laura Mullen. From Subject. Reprinted with permission of the University of California Press.

Laura Mullen

by this poet

poem
Object: tiny white box the size of a sugar cube,
White outside like a sugar cube white like like
Easily mistaken for a sugar cube, placed in a bowl full of white
Sugar cubes after being first touched with glue and then rolled in white
Sugar (Domino brand) and allowed to dry thoroughly. Hole
Barely larger