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09.27.16
Five Poems
Operation Eclipse

One decoy waits
to be retrieved. One
craves the bite of
something bigger.

The alarm system is
blinking like grease.
Disarm it and drink
from the mug of still-
warm water. Wait

in the center if the space
has creamed. The pulse
of the strobe will collapse
into six white suns

to devour the surrounding
light. They will shave
each shadow off a bouquet
of balloons, six of them,
black, looming into view.


 



The Space Between a Mask and a Face

1.

These cubed-up inches of transparent walls,
a cubicle in an area gone silent for good.
Bearing heads atop their spines

and the occasional wailing
of a copy machine at the brink:
gypsies, unblinking, line another wall

like haze, sleeping at other angles.
A mattress flattened to beds
dusty with flatness. Gasoline-bites burned in twos.

Two more and the whole
place’d go up, though not for long,
shorn to horizontal dark.


2.

Antipodal light.
Overlay: even with new angles
it doesn’t look all that great.

Beaten so I can see.
Megabitten space with
the shutdown looming.

Pubic bush sleeping underwater.
The opening in the body
when I see it. A knot undone inside

when I see it. Underwater
gravity seeping into the fine
outline of a flame.

A poultice veining away, away …
I run my hand
over the stencils of a ribcage.


 



Auto-Eros

These days, neither I nor the Venus flytrap
pays much attention to gasoline
puddles outside our door, the stampeding
bodies running by. I came here, years ago,
bearing rapiers and gray hair and sought
an eruption in return. Now the grass
hisses like little horns, kingly in stature.
The flytrap lives in me like an Inca, undercurl
of his brushfire my tendon and bone.
He sets up the chessboard, the sewage,
miasma chiseling me back
to life. I know I’m on his mind: I yawn,
he yawns back. Light a match,
he blows it out. The fire barely moves
though it glows like the silk
lining of my coat. He is a monk, a shadow
on a stone and this is no
time for hymns. He will not sing
with me even though X-rays show
most Pompeii dwellers remain in good health.


 



We Have Flowered out of the Boulders Nearby

I was told
there’s a spot
of water
under our
collarbones
or carved there
that a row
of square nebulae
could fold into us
that we stand
on at least one
pillar
so how to explain
the sheets
of foil spinning up there
and if they are not
spinning they are melting
and if they are not
melting they are dawning
and dawning


 



The Vicar Has Come

with his horses
and bells there
are stations

of the cross
to pass through his
head tilts

back to watch
the lightbulbs
and ivy

hang as we step
on the shadows our
kidneys blossom

Christopher Janigian is the poetry editor of Columbia Journal. His work appears in Prelude.