an owl will pass silent as a nightmare
from tree to memory as cadet-grey dusk
hues into prussian blue mystery.
from an ink basin of reckoning
a water bird gurgles a lunatic’s cry.
whoever cannot sleep, like the screech,
may hunt the sinuous path of fallen
timber and stone cleared as conduit
through trembling wombs of cedar,
to the revelation of the lake’s pelvic girdle,
where night’s subtle frequency rides
the path of linden on a stubborn breeze
to a far and luminous town
searching for the garrison
that annihilates solitude’s
thirst. so many trees standing and gone.
so many and somehow never enough.
moon rises over a child’s fantasy;
restive tongues sort love’s misspelling.
your shape holds howl invisible
sharp pain—nested pheasant
—coagulate arousal our porcelain hours.
diaphanous flower crushed
in night’s ambivalent talons,
the owl-hunger lights
her perch. she sees where you lost faith
in dreams and now lie to yourself
ready to be eviscerated. hand death
to the dying so hunger and desire lean.
we shut lights
or close blinds
trying not to add moans
to the industrial static
of lightshow & nausea.
we swallow these pills
in stillness. left hemisphere
an inch shadowing left eye
(or the bold illusion of locale)
is where we wish
to be distant from.
incapacitated for small else,
we probe anger & pulse’s
serrated edge of livid beginning.
minutes tick like blood drops, the hem
loses definition: a fifty-year-old man’s jaw,
slab butter too close to burner,
meaning in an age of celebrity.
we kiss the circumference
of its shrinking diameter;
crimson fade to rose-scented.
before the red giant winks out,
soft descends, a lead-blanket echo
of what was. it seems a reverse
of us—a diffuse something ignited,
then coalesced in shared sterling
agonies. we became from sepia
mist grown round & stone.
we agape & gasping
we one inside the other
we lightshow & nausea.
one equator crosses hemispheres
of lone to throb like possession
—pill-free tongues create music.
we add moans to flashing;
we smudge out stillness with our bodies;
lights open, blind shred,
MAKE THE NEXT SECOND CHANCE
I dare to take my foundling hope as bone
& drop it in the turbulent rise of your body.
We paint white walls black joy after suffering
the dank chill of north’s insistent wind.
By afternoon we defined away sadness
like a house unroofed its melancholy shingle
replacing grey’s bitter cover with a glass pitch
that lets in what’s crimson & molasses.
For kicks stalk Jupiter’s gas oceans
then crawl to the mound again moth & moon
again crawl to pink mouth warm & song again
our moment held tongue & hand.
In an eye stippled with tumors every glance
is cancerous a daguerreotype landscape
over-developed fading to white. We tremble
separated from the double bunk of past & forever.
Somnambulant in suburban dreams
we capstone guts tenderized under a symphony
of the bombastic fist of our fathers’ wishes.
In the morning mother filled our cracks
full of gold
blanket stitching with our tears
our solos together.
We swim through Venus’ lavender rains
then crawl to the mound again moon & moth
again crawl to your salt mouth & song again
our moment held breath & horses.
We make a second chance against what
autumn removed. I dare to unzip your spring
sliding hand down the crevice of our soul.
Have faith that it’s only winter once a year.
stephanie roberts has work featured or forthcoming in numerous journals, in North America and Europe, including The New Quarterly, Room, Arcturus, Atlanta Review, CV2, The /tƐ mz/ Review, and The Stockholm Review of Literature. She was a finalist in the Anomalous Press Open Reading and the 7th Eyewear Publishing LTD Fortnight Prize. Born in Central America, she now explores reverence from a wee French town outside Montréal.