whimsical, weir, maybe, relentless, squeak, leftovers, bulb, goof, courtyard, terebinth, reeds, ghost 

Beyond the Veil

I’d rather sequester myself in whimsical memories

(like a weir guides water) than face tomorrow.

Maybe things will improve—clouds can crack & show

a relentless sun-yolk dripping onto neighbors' lawns.

The front gate may squeak in warning someone comes.

I’ll throw out all leftovers and cook something fresh.

Every bulb in my house as bright as salsa music at dusk.

You were always the goof; nothing was as serious 

as fun. I’d give twelve teeth to sit in a courtyard & talk 

once more. My pain stretches taller than a terebinth.

My hands shake like reeds standing sentry in a tornado.

Reality is as silent as your ghost now, momma.

sequester, guides, improve, lawns, warning, fresh, dusk, always, teeth, taller, sentry, reality

What in the world does the light sequester 

That guides these luminous velocities 

We improve minute by minute 

In the afternoon heat on lawns 

Warning the children of the harms

We covet with handfuls of fresh ice?

Dusk blooms swooning with bruises 

The dark swallows as the lights come on

As someone glides a tongue on teeth.

The children are taller as suddenly roses are.

The ancient mailbox a sentry by the gate

Guards the reality of ice melting in a room.

light, velocities, improve, heat, harms, ice, swooning, swallows, glides, roses, gate, room

the dawn lights the sky

and watches the velocities of the city wake

these streets, always trying to improve themselves

these buildings, always trying to turn up the heat

these people with their blaring horns and bloated harms

but listen, it’s still there, the faint grind of ice and age

the swooning of faraway wings

soon there will be swallows again

and slow skies, as the dusk glides in

and the roses with their heavy heads

and I will leave this house and close that gate

will make this field into my room

sky, velocities, always, buildings, their, listen, swooning, soon, dusk, heads, leave, make

Otis: Murmuration

In the changeable sky,

skittering velocities

magic, always,

swoop down buildings

in their collective rush.

Listen, watch,

a little swooning,

as sunset, soon

dusk, darkens in the small storm:

beaks     heads    wings     tail feathers

fly, flow, slow, leave,

make a new being in their flying.

changeable, skittering, magic, down, in, watch, little, as, small, beaks, flow, being

In the pink light changeable as wood

The honest skittering of a mantis 

Shadow magic drawn out of the blankness

Of the universe on this Wednesday down

In the same-colored grass I

Watch a little drunk off my

Expectations of narrative a little cornered

By my own perceiving as 

A telescope perceives its small piece of history

Before the beaks peck raw the sleek image

And the whole tree falls in the flow of a stranger 

Being inking out its vast language in the pink light for nobody

wood, honest, blankness, Wednesday, I, drunk, narrative, own, telescope, sleek, stranger, inking 

The same pieces of shaped wood since I was a kid,

kicked over and over against the chunked-out concrete and honest graffiti.

Follow my shoulders and cultivate blankness on

a Wednesday afternoon before everyone else gets off work.

I pray my right knee holds out a few more years.

Travel in time, drunk as shit with David in Provo parking lots,

the feeling of the second act of the narrative just beginning.

To own my life’s recordings, I must edit and reassemble them,

back up so far that I need a telescope to see the better tricks.

Turning humiliation into something sleek and enviable,

transforming enemy to stranger is nothing short of a Spell,

the inking over the pencils, the coyote crossing Geneva Road at night.

same, against, shoulder, afternoon, knee, time, act, edit, need, humiliation, enemy, night

one sees the arrow the same color red

staged against the same color red gate

your shoulder over-sold on the word “target”


is the afternoon so worrisome, grating

one can’t wait to take a knee to the earth

so, as to stall time into itemized lines?


one might act as if the wall is so tall

one should edit it out and/or adore all its

need and ever-readiness to be cast--


due to its miles of under-noted humiliation

and its age-old calling, as the enemy of

a night more a maze than a lack of light


arrow, gate, word, worrisome, earth, itemized, tall, adore, cast, due, calling, maze

An arrow drives

through the open gate.

The word is finned

and worrisome,

the earth dropping off below.

Our itemized list of grievances

is tall as a daffodil.

Adore the earth and it will

sign your cast. Time is

due for the earth to signify

the earth, calling itself mother.

It must amaze itself.

drives, open, finned, and, dropping, grievances, daffodil, earth, time, signify, mother, must



On the overlook, one of them drives strange lust, the other, awe.

The world open became a sphere of discovery for them both.

The west mountains finned; clouds settled over them like veils.

The clouds were brides while the mountains were grooms. And

dropping into the front seat of the car, guest stars. Tons.

Grievances and promises share one commonality: they open us up.

Her face was a bursting daffodil while his face was a moon.

The light of the cosmos kissed the moist face of the earth.

Love equals time plus enactments of divinity, holy grace, loss.

Marriage is meant to signify, but what? She said it signifies

A mother loving something alive, he said it signifies a father

Holding something until it dies; a vow like that must be true.

overlook, sphere, veils, brides, stars, face, moist, grooms, enactments, divinity, alive, vow


scenic overlook —

beyond this celestial sphere

veils will be lifted

seven brides, brothers —

the twelve stars in Mary’s crown

& the face on Mars

moist mayonnaise cake!

let’s go meet the groom of grooms —

whole-group enactments

divinity-wind —

as long as I am alive

I vow to live now

scenic, celestial, lifted, seven, twelve, Mars, cake, meet, whole, wind, long, now

Scenic is a word which troubles students of art.

Gold-spun star in periwinkle sky, too celestial, too much pretense?

If you lifted away those seven magic trees, what then?

No magic seven. And that painting's winding road, false promise, too?

Take away too those twelve stairs leading uphill to the house,

Yes, you'd find that painting unmusical, like Mars, bereft;

Like a dead moon, a white cake cursed with cold white icing, too.

You'd meet such chilling stillness, wonder why those trees gave up, went

To storage, blankness—instead of helping whole soul's rise—to bliss.

Best to give us/them gentle blue-frosted whorls, spirals, of wind, in enchanted sky?

Deep green trees emanating their long and secret dreams of succession, rule?

Why not magic now? Answer their/our long-held wishes with an almost unbearable yes.

art, sky, trees, promise, house, unmusical, too, wonder, blankness, give, rule, wish

to make an art out of it, first

fling the aster seeds into the sky

you may think of trees as an audience of giants

but their promise is smaller, and better

and their house is everywhere

their unmusical voices strange and familiar

nothing is too small for their arms which you call branches

I wonder where that woman is going

is her blankness as small as my future?

will she give me a seed, or her hand of twigs?

to make a rule out of art

this making my only wish, and my future a tree

Eleven of our contributors collaborated on this group otis. (Click here to find out what an otis is.) This time, each writer donated one word for the initial seed words. To make it twelve, the editors joined in. Click anywhere on the otises below to be taken to the writers’ work in the issue.