Potluck

 

T H I S    W E E K

WATERSLIDES IN AUXILIARY HOSPITAL WASHROOM by Daniel Thompson

 

Two Poems


Tissue Cultures in Auckland
 

In another scene
I was a gardener
my practice the
piecemeal work
of rose grafting

Under microvision
it’s nothing new
a few tissues
left hands
groping shadows
in a Watsonville
motel built
for prophets
gone rogue

In Auckland
tissue cultures of
cloned plants
lie in
wait for
new forms
of eulogy
to emerge—

I come from a town
of record nuclear
fallout A focal
scattering of
radioisotopes
and yellowed
photographs
in catalogued
accumulation

of Manson Caves
and Rocketdyne
of a neighboring
porno boom
and Santa Ana
hot air puffs
shaking rows of
manicured trees
each year on cue

It’s not history
it’s science:
a boy I kissed
in the back row
of a yellow bus
contracted
late-stage
Hodgkin’s
and I felt
remorseful
as a god

A teacher whose
dourness I prized
swapped
lives and
lives by hearsay
in the cliffs of
Zihuatanejo
by the sea

Under the
microscope
these plants
are bits of
string

in grafting you
snap the thorns
off with a ready
thumb 

prune the
pieces to make
way for a
hybrid with
a penchant for
dirty jokes &
erasure 

but
first

what you really need

is a sturdy shrub 

A parent understock
on which the new
can feed like a virus

On which the new
will disperse
into hot gusts
of traveling air
towards bloom.

 

 

 

 

 

Epileptic Release Hounds
 

It’s past tense
and rich text
format that
drives
this impulse
into the next
shipwrecked
divers’ bay.

Sure, you have it
out for us next
year, but my—
how we’ve grown
with new, 
night-sight
vision in
tow.

Tomorrow’s
headline
casts heads
in flight, a
far-struck
contrast
from
recent
missteps
—move it.

Stillness is one,
fat,
loading
screen
(white on noise)
waiting
without
pulse
towards
old planets
made new.

To be seen
and fragile:
a site
at which
at last
we might gladly
gnash a set of
new brand teeth.

 

 

 

 

Jessica Q. Stark lives and works in Durham, North Carolina. She is a doctoral student at Duke University, studying the intersections of contemporary poetry and comic books.