Online Exclusive

Three Poems

—for Christian Schlegel

Like a boy green of face
You are looking else-
Where with your arms
“I feel this ribboned alarm

So I’m waiting as I was”
Period & end of sentence
I’d love with a klaxon
To move you in penance

Like a titanium friar
Across this wooded hell
What were you prior
You drained down your cell

& neutral as a fingerprint
Equal as a clog

We stopped to abhor
For until then I’d never
Sweated out a pair of doors
Which is so Noah’s Ark

I’m like my own eclogue
Talking up these idiot hills
I think cruelty is embrace
When on an avenue I meet

A horse dressed as a visa
Marching in place on pills
So verse isn’t blind
So much as vampiric

Plugged into its volume’s
Celestial drill


Reversible Destiny Housing

I was struck
By your brevity
Can you speak further
About honing that
Particular skill

The river firing
Out the window
Floods a melted fox
In present tenses
Hunting the ill

It tools through
Vague tombs
My friends are in
Another room


The Little Merm

I lost all my notes
I slurped of the Rhône

As I screeched off the tongue
Of la Ponte d’Avignon

Its current escalated & gathered to a tinct
At the glottal pink of the solitary

One I found among me
A bobbing swan distributing voltage

At a central border of the sea
So far from my department

A cygnet tron who sang with no
Auto-notes, wrong news

Delivered in stone
Falsetto said, “I could not

Speak, I was so child
Until I listened with my mouth”

Feeling as one with my device
An albatross above rhymed with it

Fathoms below a major chord
Went wild with metronomic rot

My suit was smooth, a river stone
Some damp hand plucked me

& skipped me west
Over the meniscus of this

Planetary clot
Until I slammed into a wave

My cochleae eel-bitten
Dumb as a cryptogram

& washed up at my employer’s door
& remembered what I’d written

Daniel Poppick is the author of The Police (Omnidawn, 2017), and his poems have recently appeared in BOMB, The New Republic, Granta, Hyperallergic, and Fence. He teaches undergraduate writing at the New School and coedits the Catenary Press with Rob Schlegel and Rawaan Alkhatib in Brooklyn.