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                      Late flies large as nearly extinct black bees

                             burrow in wisteria

                             when the desert has all the carcasses

Flies grow L’s for legs 

the world often barely perceptible, its sometime sugary smell

a rustic divination, a chainlink

                                                              Debt builds 

                                          the envelopes tower on the kitchen counter

                                                              tilt day’s movement from spring to 

summer, when at last there is time, huge delivered cubes of it

to open all newspapers shoved under couch, tape some

on walls, make links 

with a red Sharpie

and still I cannot learn 

our kingdom its cages

                                             At Rite Aid: Infinite Shine 2 Lacquer nail polish 

                                             named Withstands Test of Thyme

                                             an aqua transbluent sage, nice

Women in sundresses, shirtless men, fish trapped 

by ecstatic children brown, white

carrying magenta-haired dolls into river

sky blue remote bot drones

                                                        Balancing red snapper arranged on a plate, signature

cocktails, browser, dowser,

                                          bitching on my vacay, I ride tidal galaxy in gulf whitecaps

I have time to think

how does one 

make of time 

a servant

                          not the other way around––when there is nothing to do one can

discern a divine intervention from an ambrosial urban myth

                                                       it is an extremely

                                                       advanced yoga pose

to enact

such a dimension of

                            “here I am” and “there are 

                             others” above the Pacific, pelicans in military formation

make a feathered V, I say a few words 

into an abandoned silo

I say “citizen of the world”

up to blown sky––

                           I say welcome to our infinite, unmerciful, eternal estrangement, home

to the girl from Oaxaca crossed over

a placenta’s swell
                                                       >  she says this partnership is not working out
a purple martin in deleafed tree

whenever I say I it sounds extrajudicial,

the fine sprays of misunderstood words also say

check out shelf with local honey

it will help you 

breathe better

and be dreamful companion 

to polyglot strangers who built our republic,

their strolling, ghostly greenish speckled shade cast under oaks

already a chainlink

hitch to her stride

                        Radio says

                        put saucer of sugar water out if you see a weak black bee

        And if there is no place

      to park the car 

  why did you get in it

I wonder if courage in one world 

          can create an expanse in another  

                           Is it akin to lovers who are alive in each other?

Pushing my cart past the shelves

the grocery aisle says sea salt 

is a sorryass hygienic tragedy

When I check out, the robot thanks me for doing its work

I say we’re still alive in a polite tone

In the morning the river is busy

dividing an uncracked code


Gillian Conoley’s A Little More Red Sun on the Human: New and Selected Poems (Nightboat Books, 2019) won the Northern California Book Award. She received the 2017 Shelley Memorial Award for lifetime achievement from the Poetry Society of America. Conoley is poet-in-residence at Sonoma State University, where she edits Volt. Her translation of three books by Henri Michaux, Thousand Times Broken (City Lights), excerpts from which were first published in Conjunctions:61, A Menagerie, was one of Publisher’s Weekly’s top-ten fall 2014 poetry releases.