from Some Perilous Thing


XVII. The Twenty Three Pill Day


Years… balancing

quantify the expectation

love your body while it eats you
leave a bad husband

take your children out
in the night
in bare feet and cold

three for autonomy
two for loathing
one for the unsafe world
the universe
            not built by brute force
                        but designed by lawsxliv

to cover the stains
bleach the apparition

return to paper walls
hang the things you made
among the wretched
with plastic thumbtacks

move your forms in closing borders

one for foreclosure
four for fleeing from a murder
two for overgrown empathy
The details left
to the working of chancexliv

do not drastically change your plumage
keep the faceless scars
from the moon house you built
it will stoke your class hatred[ii]


let the dark open up and out
into work you do alone
of hell-mouths
Rain squalls through moonlight
Cold wet
is so damned wet[iii]

for food insecurity

it will get better
when small hands can reach
for the right cabinet in the dark
I’d be a rich [wo]man
had I yielded
on a few points of principlexlvi

for the face of the house
you loved when you lived without air

how the frozen blood vibrates its lack of war in blueshift wavelengths and you look and see that even if there is no bread you will not starve and the children will have words as you have had them behind a mask of moving eyes

one for sleep

and a long dream to unroll
and somehow timexlvi

remove the second sight from secondhand

the markers of your composite moments
how you hate when you are young

the quiet way of living in sawdust corners
and of becomes like air you tell slowly
to the bounded ear of your daughter

drive her to the trailer park
where you lived before you lived
see the filthy girls in shorts and cold
when she weeps tell her it is better this way

“We’ll be free
                         with less 
                                            and clean.”[iv]

[i] Niedecker, Lorine. “Darwin.” Poetry Foundation. n.d. 30 Oct. 2013.

[ii] Palahuinuk, Chuck. Fight Club. New York: W.W. Norton, 2005. Print.
[iii] Niedecker, Lorine. “His Carpet Flowered.” Poetry Foundation. n.d. 30 Oct. 2013.
[iv] Niedecker, Lorine. “Five Poems.” Poetry Foundation. n.d. 30 Oct. 2013.
* * *
Jessica B. Weisenfels lives in rural Arkansas where she accumulates chronic diseases and steals language from her children. Her work may be found in Sink Review and E-ratio. She has work forthcoming from Fence.Tim VanDyke is the author of Topographies Drawn with a Divine Chain of Birds (Lavender Ink, 2011), Fugue Engine (Cannibal, 2011), and Light on the Lion’s Face (Argotist, 2012).

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