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Shanna Compton

Shanna Compton is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Brink (Bloof Books, 2012). Her book-length speculative poem,The Hazard Cycle, is forthcoming from Bloof Books in 2018. She works as a freelance book designer, writer, and editor in Lambertville, New Jersey.

By This Poet

3

Back in Seaside

Rain interchangeable with
the walls it falls against
alphabetless like a neon
ring above an extincted
window showcasing something
formerly fabulous now
kinda poignantly disappeared.
I guess that means we're back
in Seaside (since we must
begin somewhere) and it's
probably summer but
can't be as long ago
as the date you suggest
since I wouldn't have been
born, or quietly gagging
at the sentence re: photographs
being "fairly far removed" from
sculpture anyway belied by
a euthanized block
of period tract housing
the loading dock's pair
of refrigerated trucks
the guileless curbs below
the blandishing panes
of all those plate windows
the corrugated doors
rolled shut against a
statement the curves
of the cars as they
throw back their throats
to the light the furtive
things people do in the night
(or don't do) bluely
compiled screen by screen
in perfervid surveillance
I just want to say yes
to you, yes and
watch this.

Panoramic View

Last week Mars suddenly got a lot closer.
It used to be the place we'd throw out
as impossible, utterly unreachable, so red
and foreign and sere. Not anymore.
And I'm trying to figure out why watching
the panorama makes something in the hot core
of me crumple like a swig-emptied can,
intoxicating though it may be, vibrant
with out-of-this-world color like the whole thing's
a sand painting, a dimensional mandala
some galactic monk took her sweet time pouring
freehand, blowing on it between sips of her tea,
ruffling up the most dramatic of its rumpled crests.
It's bluer than I thought, attained. Like most things
I wish we could take back.

The Driest Place on Earth

I watched in horror as the man hung
half a pig by a hook in the window.

Nearby, the sea shone or something.
Nearby, the wingspan of a hawk cast an elongated shadow.

I listened with horror to the words I was missing.
A wrongness was growing in the living moon.

& nearby, the sea rolled endlessly.
Nearby, the saw grass peered through the grit & preened.

I've never been to Florida. Louisiana however
is second skin of mind, a habit-habitat.

& Texas on the way there, the red soil 
& black boars, the frankly haunted pines

lone men in pickups fishing
for nothing they intend to catch.

& nearby, the sea froths over the edge.
& nearby, the sea.

Nearer & nearer
the obliterating sea