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July 3, 2017 Poetry

Three Poems

Kaleigh Spollen

Three Poems photo

blm land

this belt of the nation feels equally
bible and rust and sun, where
mute billboards offer us
teeth cleaning for pets.
my molars resound
for the dogs,
dumb and deep-eyed,
and they ache still when we barrel past
artichoke farms buttery in the rose sun
until this all fades alongside
a sky losing blue like blood.
my palm lines gather two days and one night’s worth
of Mojave sand.

the road of the flat world hums
and we feel light cutting through dusk,
sure there is such thing as
the catechism of a dry lake bed, creosote bush and
dusty hands under tap water
at a gas station in Kyburz
where outside you yelled SHIT!
in front of a small girl.
and it makes me wish we said sorry
the way she presses to her pet’s fur
lips ringed in soda dew and
Red number 40.

you know
we will leave the singing length of highway
with clean fingers on the wheel and
cavities will bloom in that haloed mouth
saying good dog, good dog.


bodies of water

you cut your teeth on desert farms,
where men under a full buck moon
ground rat skeletons
to feed plants and red earth.
in the trenches were seeds, and you must have dropped them
with a kind of reverence,
padding through the dawn.

you learned to be alone.
you lived on tortillas and cola, a pound of dates each week.
jacked off during siestas when the day yawned open.
at the doorframe you kept watch -
flooding in the lowlands.

then you, mammalian, fled
with warm blood for shorelines.
you found me.
i was learning to be soft again.
like sand dunes, like peat moss,
like storied rain in a drought.
palomino horses come to mind
bred for muscle and deference.
watch how they lope, watch the beating
of wet flanks - hard and fast, all velveteen angles
and ocean breath.
hooves meeting earth, rain meeting dam
where a rancher raises hands
above a sun-scrubbed plain
because water means currency.


yesterday’s milk left a ghost
on the cups near your curled spine,
vessels fogged with
lip smears and everything
we drank over two days.
becomes gauzy with enough time,
the white tile gains a kind of
beige, then salmon – soap film
or simply bare feet gripping porcelain
each morning.
this is the age now for learning
how to balance bleach and water
in a single bucket, to think sometimes
of mopped corridors and
pools in September,
the way sunshine can lick water and skin
like a bored housecat.
this is the age now for learning
how night strikes the suburbs into lunar quiet,
your winter belly rinsed
in braids of moonlight,
diluted as if
cleaned and culled from great turbines 
where men stand watch in studied languor
over glass bottles being born
and being born again.

image: Bryan Bowie