War Catalogues

Soldiers collect & number:
pigment, hair, jade,
roasted meat, timber,
cum. The enemy’s
flute; the face

of an enemy
as he holds his young;
the enemy’s face the moment
it’s harmed. The woods

are a class in what
they can take. The country
is fat. We eat
from its side.

More by Nomi Stone

Waiting for Happiness

Dog knows when friend will come home
because each hour friend’s smell pales,
air paring down the good smell
with its little diamond. It means I miss you
O I miss you, how hard it is to wait
for my happiness, and how good when
it arrives. Here we are in our bodies,
ripe as avocados, softer, brightening
with latencies like a hot, blue core
of electricity: our ankles knotted to our
calves by a thread, womb sparking
with watermelon seeds we swallowed
as children, the heart again badly hurt, trying
and failing. But it is almost five says
the dog. It is almost five.

Wonder Days

What I meant is that when the child shook the branch,
the beetles, quiet, somnolent, darkly, fell and again fell
like plums. Once woken, they bzzzed towards
the street lamps, loving each light well, thwacking
against them until they landed face down or face
up, trying to find their feet, reminding me of Eve’s face
as a baby when she tried to lift her head on her stem
of a neck before yet she could. Upon the child’s shoulders,
beetles landed, kinging him. The dusk’s gray mute
unfolded its scrolls, while his mother made toast
with boysenberry jam, his father played solitaire,
and think of his sister doing her biology homework.
But they are under the tree, he is, the bright ones falling
upon him like stars, and as they fall, he names them:
some doctors, some cooks, depending on the size
of their antennae. His face was a diary of leaves: dark,
lit, risen with laughter, then suddenly at rest. This
was one way to be inside the world rather than outside
looking into a bright window.

Fieldworkers of the Sublime

In a dream, two lovers’ thighs scythe
around each others’ centers.
Spring again!

            A scientist grafts eyes
            onto the tails of blind tadpoles.
            It works. The proof


is the tadpoles can now follow
rotating optical patterns. Nervous systems
rebooted, they swim


            into the fluorescent light.
            Once the laboratories begin hatching
            bombs, the pond scum and lilies,


their slick, hairlike roots,
are left naked in buckets. The room
of the world shakes. If you see me


            from there, there
            where I have lost you, here
            is a picture of my body, bright with data.

Related Poems

Between Wars

You’ve lost your soul again. Go back
to the window. Note the crocus
defying expectations

in the bed your mother hunkers over,
missing you, in her fashion,
now that you’re always there.

Why don’t you wear your uniform, she asks.
Will you ever get out of bed,
running her hand through your uncombed curls,

sweating eau de toilette
that forces you both to remember
the hollows she cannot scent.

Several soldiers’ buttons
glitter in her trowel, a spectacular find
that conjures and erases

the sad, stained trench
in which their bodies vanished.
Your mother gives a cry of surprise.

The child she bore
bears you no resemblance; only
this habit of losing your soul

suggests yours is the head
she brushed, in a perfumed cloud,
straightening what wasn’t tangled,

as something rolled across the floor,
where she would never find it. 
Many surrenders later,

what glittered and rolled
perforated by equidistant holes
while you froze in her haze of fragrance

has surfaced among the spears of crocus,
as though the boys who burst their buttons
jabbing dummies with bayonets

had risen from their graves,
untangled, untarnished,
ready to forgive.