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desire

And If I Fall

There’s this cathedral in my head I keep
making from cricket song and
dying but rogue-in-spirit, still,
bamboo. Not making. I keep
imagining it, as if that were the same

Star Map With Action Figures

More dark than gray, but not yet quite dark
entirely, the stories keep ending as if there were
a limit to what any story could hold onto, and this
the limit, the latest version of it, looking a lot like the sea
meeting shore. 

The Soul Wishes It Could Blow on the Wound

His teeth are lilies bursting from asphalt—white, many petaled opulences;
amid danger, there is also beauty. When he whips me with the riding crop
of his tongue, I curl into the earth’s first question: To desire what exactly?
                                                                                                      He has nothing

Dear Eros,

I have found you where I shouldn’t—in the wrong bodies, 
at the wrong time, and once on a subway platform 
with my feet stuck to a pool of dried soda taking gum 
from a near-stranger’s mouth. That night you were spearmint 
and the 6 train. I have been woken by you, put to bed by you. 

Sphinx

The last time I left your house I saw a moth 
on the black skin of a puddle, ruining herself 
on the moon’s reflection. Dear sphinx hawkmoth 

Illustration by Chloe Scheffe

An Invocation of the Big-Eared Runt

The first time he appeared to Pablo was on the bus during the nine-thirty tour. It happened during a pause in the narration while they rode from the restaurant that had belonged to Emilia Basil (the dismemberer) to the building where Yiya Murano (the poisoner) had lived. 

Illustration by Marc Aspinall

But I’ve Got Ovid

After thirty years of disaster with men and fresh from a spanking-new heartbreak, I’m back in Miami, back in my dilapidated condo in paradise, to decide if it’s time to retire from love.

Even my mother thinks I should. When I called to tell her of the latest disaster, she sighed and said, Maybe, darling, you should give up on all that. Maybe it’s just time.

Okay, I’ve got other loves, after all. My broken-down mother. My blind old cat. A love poet who’s been dead two thousand years whose words I’m being paid to translate. A friend or two via text.

Illustration by Gosia Herba

The Lineaments of Gratified Desire

When he thought about it, he could see that this thing with Alexa Jamison was a betrayal of the idea of what Sonya and he had been: the romance of that. Such a sweet beginning seems always to create a following inertia: the two families, everybody coming together as part of the story. 

<i>A Metaphorical God: Poems</i>, by Kimberly Johnson. Persea Books, September 2008. $14

God-Hunger Redux

Kimberly Johnson, Alex Lemon, and Brenda Shaughnessy take up the poetics of God-lust with renewed, edgy, often darkly humorous imagination in distinctive second books of poetry.