CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
From Quandaries
Ted Mathys



The Figure Considers Fossils

imprisoned on the fissure the figure considers
the fossils in the rock between the figure and the arrested
red | the arrested red is arrested beneath the depth
by the figure | the fossils between
the figure’s fissure and the arrested red
are not arrested | the fossils are rather a facet of the rock |
the rock is a facet of the slope | the slope is a facet of the jut | the jut
is a facet of the scape | the scape is a facet of creation | the figure figures
creation contains no large-winged ones | the large winged-ones
were either created by the figure’s considerations
or have abandoned the figure altogether | either
way the figure’s existence on the jut is but the sum of the figure’s actions |
the figure refuses despair | instead the figure regards
the trees on the lacquered black space
between the figure and the blue on the scape | the trees sway in
but the fossils retain their shape | the figure considers the fossils
individually | the figure experiences each fossil as the figure
would experience the figure were the figure regarding the figure from the other
side of the moving blue | layer by layer the figure considers
the shape of each fossil | the size of each fossil | the era of each |
the figure considers deeper and deeper through layers of creation
until the figure arrives at the fossil of a gun








Quandary

the soldier has wandered off into the green and lain
down on a plot | elephant grass | lacquered with wet | weapon on chest |
the soldier on the plot has reclined on a landmine | the elephant
grass moves in | the elephant
grass moves out | the landmine clicks but the river
retains its shape | beneath the weapon is the soldier |
beneath the soldier is the grass | inside the grass is the mine | beneath the mine
is the plot | if the soldier inclines the mine on the plot
will explode | the soldier a trigger | if the mine explodes
the grass will burst | bamboo will burst | the soldier’s mind
will burst on the plot | a death |
if the soldier remains reclined on the elephant
grass the mine on the plot will remain
arrested | beneath the soldier | above the grass | above the plot | but
a soldier reclined on a plot forever will weather until the soldier dies |
the soldier regards the weapon | the soldier regards the plot








The Figure and the Lichen

the figure discovers umber
lichen on the jut | the figure does not
like the lichen but likens the lichen
to a facet hidden within the figure | the facet is in
the shape of the lacquered black space
between the slope of the jut and the trees on the scape |
the trees sway in | the blue moves out |but the facet
will always retain its shape | the figure touches the exterior umber
lichen on the rock and recoils | beneath the depth the red
begins to well | the exterior umber is too like
the lichen hidden within | the figure considers stabbing with a clast
fractured from the shelf the lichen hidden within | the figure recoils | no
figure knows how to kill interior lichen | no figure knows
why figures contain such ungraspable lichen | the figure only knows
that if the only figure knew
how to escape the inimitable fissure
or clast-stab the lichen | the figure might then
finally cry with accuracy








Deus ex Helicopter

imprisoned in the plot the soldier considers
the river and the coming of a helicopter | the bamboo moves
in | the bamboo moves out | the soldier remembers
a copter but has not encountered a copter
forever | the copter remembered was in the shape of the wet
green space between the soldier and the river on the plot |
the soldier discovers and plucks a stalk
of reed from the green on the plot | the soldier presses
the reed between the soldier’s thumb and the soldier’s other
thumb | the soldier blows through the stalk and the wind
blows across the plot | the stalk makes a sound | the sound resembles
a weapon but not a copter | the soldier resembles
a figure and discovers and plucks a larger reed from the plot | the river
retracts | lacquered with itself | the sun retracts | the soldier presses
the larger stalk between the soldier’s thumb and other
thumb and blows | the sound becomes that of a copter |
the copter lifts | the copter floats across the green of the elephant
grass on the plot | floats over to an elephant
and slices an elephant to death |
the soldier stops creating |
the soldier regards the green |








Quandary

the grandmother has been rolled across the ward and laid
down on a cot | lacquered with sweat | the grandmother has
reclined on a cot before the family | the family moves
in | the family moves out | but the grandmother retains
her shape | the grandmother is in the shape of the spare
white space between the spoon and the phone
in the ward | beneath the grandmother is the sheet | beneath
the sheet is the cot | beneath the cot
is the plug | without the plug is the immediate
black | if the family inclines the years will suffice |
if the years suffice the grandmother will face
the immediate black | a death |
the spoon is regarded | the phone is
regarded | if the family inclines the grandmother will remain
reclined in the ward | lacquered with sweat | the plug will remain arrested
beneath the cot | beneath the sheet | beneath the grandmother | but
a grandmother reclined on a cot forever will weather until the grandmother dies |
the family regards the plug | the grandmother regards the blue








The Soldier Bleeds Twice

the soldier removes the soldier’s hand from the soldier’s lower
zone of wound | the bamboo leans in | the bamboo leans
out | the soldier arrests
the red of the wound with the butt
of the weapon | the red beneath the butt lacquers
the butt with itself | the soldier discovers and plucks a stalk
of reed from the plot of elephant
grass | the green
reminds the soldier of the mine below and the soldier’s mind
retracts | the river retracts | the soldier retracts
the butt from the wound | the red drips but the river retains
its shape | the soldier lacerates
the soldier’s forearm with the stalk to mark a rising
and a falling of the sun | the soldier refits the butt
into the lower zone of wound | a rising and a falling |
the soldier regards the blunt
edge of the butt | the soldier collates the days in red in rows
with the stalk across the forearm | the days are
eleven | the elephant
grass moves in waves until the soldier replaces
the butt with the collated forearm to plug
the lower zone of wound | the plot
does not know how to thicken but the river reminds the soldier of thirst |
the soldier thirsts and the elephant grass is no longer
lacquered with wet | the soldier resorts | the soldier licks
the butt of the weapon clear
clean of the soldier’s inevitable red








The Blue

the figure has moved down the slope of the scape and peered
into the blue | the blue moves
in | the blue moves out | the opposite blue
figure leers at the figure on the scape from the other
side of the implacable blue | the opposite figure moves
in | the opposite figure moves out | the figure extends a forefinger
toward the opposite figure in the blue | the opposite figure extends
a forefinger toward the figure on the slope | forefingers touch in a ripple
and the figure becomes a flower |