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3 Photos of Us Laughing in the Public Fauna

A hole in the sky 
is what it looks like. Something that will be replaced 
by color, which is a kind of false answer,
and yet the only real truth 
in this world. The only “real truth”
by which I mean
forgiving. Fog is made virtually
by light, like all 
existence. Except what owes life 
to what is without. 

          and ancient                     shrimps. 
Vacuums. Wormholes to travel
Jodie Foster. Other bricks 
of night. In the hour of my birth, each minute is its own dead moon,
rebirthing time in a loop of moon, 
which is no loop. 
You want to lecture an hour? to know form 
and color in the chasm 
of art history? within which
there are negated histories and too many arts.

Dreams have been lost 
over lesser legal battles; battles
shatter. Here is my world 
your legalities. How terrible for you 
to learn of freedom 
in my eyes, and be without it. You must 
try to crush me. 

I: born 
when the moon was night. Was
at its apex of invisibility, its nightest. You 
tried, pretended to. I believed, 
I thought.

A hole in the sky is always 
real, always 
                         really there. You buy a cement plant 
to prove you are beyond artistry, and I walk naked into the sea 
like a ridiculous polarization 
of your significance. 
Like I’m remembering myself as a character 
who dressed up as Nicole 
when she nosed up as 
Virginia. Then I distress my skin.
As though that scene could still be seen, 
extending my body to a travel 
unmade mine— 

as though I’m trying on a 
filmic presentation of myself as dead 
data—a romance unto myself 
in my beyond-earth, Act 2 

                                          Better to say:
I wanted to go and I did, 
where no cameras could take me
or follow. You drove to punk shows
in green bogs. I surfaced in the piney brown 
jewels of sap 
                    alone               in my wealth for 
bottomless                           years:
a meadow.


A hole in the sky is a real problem. 

We get to a stage of life where we think 
of procreation; “Biology wins again,” 
says a friend, 
when he is married; the birds on the river we grew up on 
already the descendants
of the birds we saw when we were young. 
We were young!
or still                                    nothing. I tell a friend
this story:

2 animals were witnessed
by themselves, were walked a long time by air that slept
in worlds beyond 
“the long ago;” 
and nothing happens but something changes 
forever; and the story holds back
the hole, though the 2 have no longer even a question mark
between their armpits. Friendship 
is not biology./ (Though) friendship decays,
. the memory of the walk longer 
than the walk itself. And your knees,
who cares. 

                  You forgot
your canined fingers and clawed teeth, though
you more or less still eat 
that trouble. If you didn’t think of me, 
I wouldn’t dream of you. Lucid, one asks
the other— 

                                          which who is a bird,
                                          and what a cat:
A Cat: Get 
gone. Asleep, 
the other deforms
          —We walked until 
your knees, who cares,
in the beginning
of the war (before we knew
                                          what war could be or that we had 1—

Before a loss of
us or
                                          speciation.) Of
characters? who has 

The old sky bleeds into the new hole,
which you made. Or I made it, 
who cares. Or it could be The Water who drowns us up
from the bottom, due to a reticent 
performance, ours—
So we buy a houseboat, what 
anyone would do—
the same one we had then, and built in secret 
from the other,
which adds to our collections 
of unwanted narratives, most volumes of which 
have disappeared.

The only really crucial one exists 
in the form of an aging creature,

                                          its feline agency 

             carnal in the dark,—

it is an animal who is the text.

(We feel a rope tug

our stupid bottomless 
shared soul), who asks, What is 
the silver cord                     between? 

we’ve never heard of who is not even alive 
keeps the book on the floor.
of the house
demolished, maybe not,
who cares. 

You paint the houseboat yellow on your days off, 
and your spouse feels/ Alarm: 
a sense of unrealized 

I paint it blue, all my days 
are days on, where it blends into the water
and cannot be found.


Maura Pellettieri is a poet and prose writer. She received her MFA at Washington University in St. Louis. Her work appears in The Kenyon Review,The Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. She lives in Oakland, where she teaches ecopoetics and creative writing. She is the founding editor of Crystal and Flame, a journal of art and poetics.