h o m e........
p a s t   i s s u e s....
s u b m i s s i o n s....
l i n k s

 

 

.........
ELIZABETH LINDSEY ROGERS


...........

A ROAD IN THE SKY


It wouldn’t be held—
this notion, slipknot
spring—park that pushed
its own banks, spilled vines
over the lookout. O North
I’ve never understood, capricious
cloud and gaze, lush
and then snow, that snap-
dragon give & take. But we were warm
a moment, and still on
our backs, where winter grass questioned
the margins of skin, and trees tossed
dark like paper cut-outs, or lace that ripped
if spoken of too soon.
I am the screen she said, on which
you throw your passion,
as if I’d rendered her
a level, plane to call
an interruption. If that, then
what was my language? Please, please:
raw color without
conduit, the buttercups’
fevered form. Perhaps it’s true
that what had drawn me
to her, at first, was reflection: narcissus
eye on eye, dart pressed
to dart. Collar turned back
when she allowed me
to part it, let my hand
be the bearing
against—visible, or not—whatever cyan
might be crossed. In that pivot
from day to black, a blinking jet
traced an axis above us, and I said
to her, the pilot’s
daughter: cut the veil, even the sky
feels owned. How easily
she lifted the aqua hem
of my dress, but scolded
when I moved
closer, etched my face
into her skin. This was the map: my willing
mouth parted, tasting wild
yonder, her hair’s bitter oat.




...........

SMOKEHOUSE WHERE THE HEART SHOULD BE
After Lorna Simpson’s Counting, three vertical photographs and silkscreened captions


Bullet-shaped, its one dark door 
she padlocks, wrought or cast
iron—the key not fashioned
after the house’s, no lace
cuts like a closed parasol.
Instead, functional brass, a tool
for surgery. The carcasses
hooked and hung for weeks.
She was hungry enough for any organ.
And as the smoke grew a sheath, she watched
her head disappear. Lips were the last
to fade. If she counted backwards
from where she entered, the ritual
wheeze and cough lessened its grip.
Had her mouth still been, she would’ve
lifted an arm to cover it.
Children weren’t allowed here. They crawled
like beetles, low enough to see.

Where the womb should be, a braid
wound itself to an oval.
25 twists: 50 locks: nine to one:
she’d counted some extra
stitches into her dress,
re-divided cornmeal and grease
into smaller and smaller portions.
One hand against the apron. That was truth:
follicles smelted to beads, strung and strung
to the hollow sphere of a child.
There was nothing she couldn’t
count. Every baby was a number
drawn with the same hooks and angles.
By lamplight she’d oil and comb
knot by knot. Fashion was this
fishbone, inverse of the rosary:
she’d always prayed by winding
her way back towards the root.




...........

?/ λ :A Redshift



Rén: (?): (Mandarin) man, person, people, someone else

Lambda ( λ ): Eleventh letter of the Greek alphabet, used in mathematical functions, to represent wavelengths, growth rates, and the concept of unity, among other meanings.


A single person, the body’s
pictograph. A human standing up ?
after hours of lying down.
All night on the train
we slept a slow arrow ?
through darkness, and in morning
Chinese discovered me: carrot-
headed, unaccompanied.
??????
Are you a person? I
was asked, meaning
one: are you alone.
I was. It’d been a half-year
since I had another person ?
(lying down) and yet
I’d been brushed
by thousands:
crowned with dynamite’s
wick, standing in λ
for many, the People’s Republic
of population. Not an inch
in any room, but out the window
we saw thirty-six hours
of next-to-
nothing—the Mongolian border
grass shifting, wavering λ
in its graph. It’s math, empty set:
a lone tree, one hand cracked.
Not only were you not here
I knew you would never
want to be—in this slow Doppler λ
of old men, who pointed out
what I (on my own)
might have missed: here’s the red-flecked
bushes, these ? peppercorns
that numb, that mild electric
λ
current you can touch
against your tongue.
The more we spoke
the more people that gathered
and like some failed
constant, our din λ
grew as we traveled, as the whistle
cried and changed pitch
through a town, came close λ
and then behind us—
λ, or daylight pulled away. Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers’s first book is forthcoming from University of Arkansas Press in 2013. Her poems appear in Crazyhorse, Crab Orchard Review, Field, Agni Online, Seneca Review, Asheville Poetry Review, and many others. She is a graduate of Oberlin College, and recently, the MFA program at Cornell University. She also spent a number of years living in rural China.







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