My new nausea effervescing at the
edge of the badlands
with artifacts of great sorrow
pressed between my palms.
The city whistles, coos, swells
its lungs with sacrament
then shatters where flesh meets glass.
Filth sieve. Acres of snarl.
Telegram twinge from the pit of the
swamp, coffin-cursed and driven
towards void. Blood-burl, bullet-lip.
Sit and watch them curdle here
on the avenues, watch them vulcanize
like autoclaves. I step forward
and the city flexes its shoulders, hisses
with delight, synthesizes pain into
tulips sprouting up around my feet.
I glimmer in the halo of a threat,
my pitch and yaw percussive.
The clinics stay open late.
i’ll have what
the way water
burns bright you
you weren’t there
when i passed through
a covered bridge in
the backwoods of
i am a garbage can &
you are six raccoons
in the moonlight
There is a frozen pond in Jake's backyard
& we go out onto the ice to play hockey.
It cannot stand my weight & I collapse
down into the cold water. Jake runs back to
the house & leaves me on my own. For
minutes I try to pull myself back onto the
surface, my mittened hands scrabbling against
the ice. Everything silent but for my splashing,
my chattering teeth, my harried breath. Strands
of white birch like the thin fingers of skeletons.
Snow falling softly on my face. Jake's father,
a college football star whose ruptured knee
kept him from going pro (he always tells us)
drags me onto land. Pulls off my soaking
clothes & I am ashamed of my nakedness.
My toes curl into the hard earth as I shiver.
They bring me inside, wrap me in blankets,
put a mug of tea in my hands. Jake's mother
screams at him & he cries. The world turns
in on itself. Steam billows around my face.
Zachary Evans is an MFA candidate in poetry at Colorado State University. He spends a lot of time thinking about comic books and black metal. His work can be found in Sundog Lit, Fourteen Hills, Split Lip, Killer Whale, and elsewhere.