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Five Poems

Inside blaze      earthly figuration

the lover in pieces at the mouth

of a river the lover in pieces in 

the mouth look down a hand

at the dirty bank      same bank

different river the logic of love’s

insistent metonymies      overhead

the sky measures the burning

fires distance between

dynamic constellation please

extinguish the lover falls under

wide open the sky a mouth

and feasting this broken sweet

unsatisfied substance 



Call the body husk

weight      cleft of breath

nailed earth then sky

time, no time

alive, beautiful, bare

the point at which on the vine

becomes you’ll find her 


Waking Vision

Of all the skies that come in protest      and say in protest

how far then is this far?      If there is a music about proximity   relations of sound

which feed upon each other   so to refigure    it is the music of a solemn 

speculation      at the window      count the fingers on the hand      press them then

look—it is not a hand      all the skies between what was and is 


Late Radiant

Unquiet remains      gnarled and petrified      the sound

of petrifying      is the sound of expansion      glass pushing its squares

out and out      heaving world

in her wake 



Fixed and tethered sight      a tongue’s wintered eyes

wintering at streets      shores      the blur of escaping birds

without law      he says      there can be no transgression

without transgression      stillness only      we’ll wait

where the lines intersect      for someone something to pass

nothing in this world is still      he says      stand there you’ll see 

Christina Mengert is the author of As We Are Sung (Burning Deck Press) and coeditor of 12x12: Conversations in 21st Century Poetry and Poetics (University of Iowa Press). She makes films, and teaches literature and writing for Bard College’s Prison Initiative Program in New York.