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Satan fell behind, it was a taxi’s shadow

where Man put his foot on the sidewalk


His mouth covered mine and he was gone


Italo once said a kiss on the mouth is the sign of betrayal

and pointed at Judas in the painting


(his muscular hand, his brush)


There was an ache in the canvas he had speared himself


That was the day when rain fell until twelve

outside the studio and twelve months before that shadow





Not a rink but ashed-over ice

Rain on a windshield, a green light


Apartments made of dirt, neon

hangers outlined in the cleaner’s window


I think proximity is the abyss

between God and us because


every fabric of my body is trying

to know why saying


I love you

in a time of extremity is a necessity






Dreams before waking are eyes into the future

where there is no Zurich but an alphabet


beginning with z

so go away before I ask to know


what you mean about wanting to go


Terrified of being first?

of being dirt?


Of being ambushed or embossed? Personally

I want to batter my way out of this cage of psychology


and get to the longing I really know about





Morning dusk — his figure furry


Threads of gray hair


and outside, a world without a leader

Oil and land mines


Lonely words scurrying to work


If the dark bricks hide criminal life

so does each body


dedicated to maintaining power

by suppressing its delights






Inside this egg the walls are lacquered blue


Creamy tones of windowsill

and slat. Dawn from hell on up


I hear a rooster deny, deny, deny

or is it Man


Lies smell in every detail

as the light increases in this shell


Maybe the end of the world happened long ago

A whirl as quick as Judas breaking his neck

and every sound is an echo





Poor love in the order of existence


subsists on passivity inside this skin

where pain has cut a pattern


and a red heart’s a little devil

speared by its own hand


and the brain of this stranger —

is it mine or its own — and its skeleton?


Can I toss them aside

like an armful of sticks and set out as a feeling

to find Hana and Issa across the night






Happiness has become unbearable

so don’t stay with me


Ilona said this from the hall


Doors are here for both ways of walking


The split bed and bodies facing

where two unanimities

make a positive zero


She was hoping to die into Hans

so I left her house






I thought I was happy and said to my friend


It’s because we are together


The blushing hills were rusty

its nerves as icy as his sleeves


Doll’s hair, snow like artificial

Elimination of detail, a day to be grateful


He had broken parole


With speed-thinning strides

a horse passed by without a saddle






A body never forgets

The lens is turned on its own tremendum


Only blocks away — tubes, needles, straps

at the physician’s prison


No sign of reflection, just blood and bone

trying to incorporate meds into atoms


When the body escapes without identification

this is its identification:


Chunks of moonstone smoothing a curb

Honey night snow in the city






She swept up my hair from the linoleum floor

and shook out the sheet


A rouge along the shades and drinks to be drunk


In transit, in transit, in stations and camps


little white spots wobbled from wall to phone


Star-lashes batted


— it was truck lights exiting the pike

and other war zones






Farther wars report on us:


an arsenal of artworks and theories

that contribute to the power of the military


“Beware of the fruits of your labor!”






My father was a soldier

who was smaller than my son


when he returned as a ghost.


I begged him to stay with us

but he said: “Not until you come to life.”

On the Ground

Fanny Howe

More from
Poem of the Week

George McWhirter

The Jaguar

translated from the Spanish written by
Homero Aridjis
Ishion Hutchinson