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Three Poems

Our lives no longer feel 
attared. The grand pronouncements 
feel fine, like how discs of blood 
disperse themselves throughout 

the body, like how the bloodworm 
swells to move. I accept the life.
I accept belatedness. 

Then rain comes on without trajectory. 
It is simply crowds. On the car, silver enamel. 
In one sentence, the automobile festoons 
toward certain 

death and is freed from it, the miss, 
the child’s backseat fright,

That night, absently flossing one’s teeth close 
to the mirror, this mouth all skull. 

Temple, bungalow, the merchandise 
of ships beside trees—
most confusing still are the 
conditions for attraction. 
I don’t know if I want it, the sun
lice-infested. The lime in her burgeoning thought. 

What should come but some pulsing 
validation, hands bright with chickenfat 
or when behind her ear you 
place two honeysuckles, 
which noiselessly break in her next action. They have to. 

I have no subscription. I am not 
privy to facts. Libraries exist but for the perfumery, 
the water stain on each page, 
blurblack corsages. 

And the sun. And the solder. 
With what confidence have I shut it all out?
The day ignorant of its needle— 
it pullulates that chance venom, for which 
not knowing 

is our only answer. Then to face wind, 
the pauper afternoon. Eventually,
all work is drenched in forgiveness.



When you finally admit 
you’re broken, it is the dragonfly
that assumes control. Your 
hands like tungsten, favorable 
to some otherworldly charge 
that is the dragonfly’s will, liquid, 
flinching. Unless I am mistaken 
it is the dragonfly that 
pilots the machine, spasming 
jaws. When it seals itself off 
in some endocrine room 
it is a conspiracy. You thought you 
could control the narrative, 
the song-heavy days, midspring 
occasioned with a 
neighbor’s cigarette smoke. 
Control is all our problem—
the fence it surrounds you 
with is commonplace, muzzling 
the years into a simple plea. 
Dragonfly, it is only the 
dragonfly that has this 
fundamental urge. Blood and tinsel, 
how can you predict when it 
will make itself known? 
The gyroscope buzzing inside, 
a case for indecisions, drinking 
rum, the angry cadences 
you take on in speaking 
to lovers. The dragonfly stares out 
of you like the office building 
that dreams of being icicle. 
Until some hint comes over the 
loudspeaker, we are 
not listening, not even the dragonfly. 
Fear silvering the human hum. 
Its proposition simple 
as a rosebud.



Katya is twenty-four. 
She lives in 
the nondescript city 
of Russia. What she 
predicates herself on is 
girlish, excessively 
polite. Her syntax like a 
candelabra. I saw 
your structure, 
she says. 

The air is forcibly 
diminished by your not being 
there. Olive trees are 
not enough. 
Birds smelling like a 

are not enough. Like rain, 
the mystique will come 
with jagged phrasings—
how she was trained in 
gymnastics, how the 
place where people fall 
in love is called 
a disco. The word cheerful 
is more cheerful 
if misspelled.

Russia was built for you. 
An obvious plunge 
established the 
city. You dance together, 
never looking at one
another. Red eyes, 
like in a 

The empty knocking 
like a whale’s prehistoric 
tusks. This Katya knows 
in the moment you 
call for her, Katya 
has already disappeared.

Darin Ciccotelli has recently published work in BOMB MagazineDenver Quarterly, Fence, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Subtropics. He currently teaches at Soka University of America.