What Big Eyes You Have

Only today did I notice the abyss
in abysmal and only because my mind
was generating rhymes for dismal,
and it made of the two a pair,
to which much later it joined
baptismal, as—I think—a joke.
I decided to do nothing with
the rhymes, treating them as one does
the unfortunately frequent appearance
of the “crafts” adults require children
to fashion from pipe cleaners
and plastic beads. One is not permitted
to simply throw them away,
but can designate a drawer
that serves as a kind of trash can
never emptied. I suppose one day
it will be full, and then I will know
it is time to set my child free.
The difficulty is my mind leaks
and so it will never fill, despite
the clumps of language I drop in,
and this means my mind can never
be abandoned in the woods
with a kiss and a wave
and a little red kerchief
tied under its chin.

My Pentagon

It was the military
        coming together

on paper under glass

to shine on me! they
        called me

        damp thing it was
my name coming

together under orders

nothing would go

they said
        they said

under orders     after death
all things must shine

If You Go into the Woods You Will Find It Has a Technology

This tree has a small LED display 
It is glowing and it can show you words 
and it can show you pictures and it can melt 
from one choice to another and you are looking at it 
and it wants you to share the message 
but it can't see that you are the only one around 
and that everyone else is hibernating 
which you love You are so happy and alone 
with the red and yellow lights It's a nice day 
to be in nature and to read up on the very bland ideas 
this tree has about how to live This tree says 
grow stronger and this tree says fireworks effect 
This tree is the saddest prophet in history 
but you don't tell it that You are trying to show it respect 
which gets tiresome but then it flashes 
a snake at you It's a kind of LED tree hybrid joke 
and you could just kiss it for trying For failing
But it can't see you and it starts to cry

Such and Such a Time at Such and Such a Palace

The lack of a single-word infinitive
in our language is what is killing me

this morning
                           A single word for all
infinitives is what God is doing tonight

This is just one of many acts
to have passed through the garden

Previously on this show they put
a peacock back together wrong

after its demise
there was in the syntax

Poor bird could feel it in his bones

Related Poems

Not Merely Because of the Unknown That Was Stalking Toward Them [If she lays out two spoons]

If she lays out two spoons (two real spoons) and two forks (two real forks), will he come then to take part in a meal that is wholly imaginary? The food was never real, the food was never really real and so to send them to bed without, to send them to bed without a meal, hardly meant anything.

These things may fit inside a thimble: a pinch of salt, a few drops of water, the tip of a woman's ring finger. I will give you a thimble, says Wendy. I will give you a thimble so that you will know the weight of my heart. A thimble may protect against pricks, pin pricks, needle pricks, Tinkerpricks, but not hooks, never hooks. When he stabs his hook into you, you will see that his eyes are the blue of forget-me-nots—but that is Hook and not Peter—Peter who will forget you, whose eyes are the color of vague memories, the color not of sky, but of the semblance of sky, the color of brittle-mindedness, of corpse dressings, of forgetting.

Untitled [20 November]

20 November

Dear Editor:

    Please consider the enclosed poems for publication. They are from my manuscript, X = Pawn Capture, a lyrical study of the history of chess as my grandfather misrepresented it to me because he loved to tell his stories or, if you like the sound of this better, because I was too young to comprehend his indifference to me. In any case I preferred more my grandmother's understanding of a story, how her calendar was full of images of needles and flames and rushes of wheat, all standing for the way a young girl was left to fend for herself when the Romans decided to make a saint of her. We would sit in front of the stove while something proceeded though its permutations in order to be consumed by evening, and she'd speak of Saint Panacea's stepmother, Margherita di Locarno Sesia, who stabbed the little girl with a spindle because she was so pure, and I would imagine Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, and castles of stone hewn out of quarries and bright-stepping horses with braided manes.

    While the ashy length of my grandfather's cigar would measure the evening's disappointments by increments, the part of my brain built for learning and memory was focused on the strength of the hair follicle required for a healthy man to climb a high tower braced only by the golden length of her hair. If I could have transferred these thoughts to that part of the brain that processes motivation and emotion, or reading or language, I could write how Rapunzel felt as she supported the king's son's weight up the tower, only partially reeling from the stress on the outer root sheath and the dermal papilla. And all the unhappiness that follows in that story is because her mother, one enchanted evening, was hungry for wild ferns.

    Thank you for your consideration, and for reading. I have enclosed an SASE, and look forward to hearing from you.

Amy Newman


Little Red Riding Hood/Companion

And those other females who managed to slip the collar
for a moment or two of life were branded “bad.”
            –Clarrisa Pinkola Estés, from Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

The secret nests in my marrow.

At the striptease I appear pirouette
and prey.


I might show you
what it means to be consumed.

The pashadom and papacy come
to gush and forever satellite spatter,

no matter,

in the end you will find them
covered in a fine mist,

tasting of me.

What they do not know— beyond the veil

I lay with the wolf
& the wolf
is me.

Find me in a forest of tupelo,
cypress & black gum,
at midrib,
lobe, and blade.

Even a leaf can have teeth.

Human acts can be cannibalistic.

I am here
picking all of the wildflowers.