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Two Poems
Present Value

When I say, The best artists are exceedingly 
generous, Kisha says
The question is not 
are paintings irrelevant, but what to do 
when your friends 

leave, and you’re alone with every 
object in the room
The snow in these poems
stops being snow after Kitty Lov is

Say what you will abouRED, just let me 
chill w/ powder daddies 
so far out of it, their hands 
move corporately over corporate sea
castles in their

infancy. Happy GREEN through windows 
phony boats pass
What’s worse: uniformed children 
or betraying friends by writing 
about them? Bingo 

Jack, I’ll take you up on that half-
calf, cut bovines 
like hills in air. I recognize friends gaging 
descent among execs 
selling experience

If you liked Good Morning, you might
also like Going 
 is not part of the fantasy 
Mom texts 
pics of Lindy’s stuffed

owl. Should this stay here? Overturned 
cars in the ditch
I slide to reply but can’t open 
the camera in time 
to record police tasing 

tarp man shouting, Lovely (portraiture, 
still life, teapots & trees) 
or séance, an Oxford Conspiracy whence 
false smile is transition 

between conversations Justin says 
You read Frieze
More question than statement at least against 
the wreathy condition of 
Kisha’s lust for 

Icelandic Jays, that species of music future 
masters add to the periodic table carved 
from Italian marble 
dinosaurs must have peed on, right 
I mean, just adding BLUE 

before dropping to yr knees is less contrived 
than the gold Jeff Koons in 
Florence on whose surface 
fingerprints finally prove a human 


Assisted Living

—after Margaret Ross

If I could be your horn ablaze, closing 
Gates, I’d speak 
Out against rulings 
In favor of synthetics over real prairie
Sap beetles navigate 
Carrying their weight in pear from 
The orchard where cats 
Overdramatize falling from limbs 
Upon which kestrels sing
Open your caves, for the dragons are coming 
Basically stealing 
The show from wind rolling 
Geodes at the start of the year-long 
Storm, one huge 
Valentine, divisive as poetry with 
Filling in it, like Smartphone prose 
Spilling out the bronze 
Malibu passing crocuses protesting 
Bullets undoing heads falling 
Forward into child’s pose 
When the sun is female, sweet ester, plume, 
A public affair in real flesh 
Opposite Fitbit ‘bods boringer
Than white bread, but that’s just me 
Channeling the sun’s
Cavalier judgment come August when the sun’s 
Male and everything’s dead 
Celebration—my own life 
Escaped—did I even want dragons? 
If I could be your 
                            I’d be your 
Echoer turning over
Horizon orchards contour 
The road through prairie
I’m wearing the jeans you like better than
Novels, ill inside reflection, cameras 
Spanning December squares 
Bodies perfect in their 
Asceticism. I could be your grief, deeper 
Than sturgeon. As your 
Conductor, the schedule I keep precludes 
Coming in port towns 
Where passions are endless 
Formulas of sound. As your triumphant 
Sufferer, I could be
Your aging statesman growing 
Loveable as you grow monstrous 
As your pattern 
I’d set fire to 
And to every promise turning
Spines into steel 
Rods like acid on mineral 
Ore I could be your
Light               let there be the wholeness of
Your person. I’d be the friend 
Your disorder disappears
Is the knowledge of good & evil
Divesting itself of 
Meaning through repetition. What’s your Mom’s
Mom’s Mom’s Mom’s name? 
I stopped because I thought you were
Alone. I see you have
Someone. I wish I did, too. 

Rob Schlegel is the author of January Machine (Four Way Books, 2014) and The Lesser Fields (Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University, 2009). He coedits the Catenary Press.