lunes, marzo 01, 2010

Three Poems From Michael McLane


age is carefully measured
in valleys of grinding bone
the weight of heaven
on the ankles, knees
and hips.

or within the hairline
cartography of plates
keeping our selves together
in the tumbling china
of our skulls –

this at least is natural.
calibration, smallest line
the vanishing point
the trajectory
in either direction.

harder still is the hole
observatory behind the ear,
perfectly round intrusion
that pulls outside matters in
with it, vacuum of all

concentrated life, in this small
room. a hole behind the ear,
absence of measurement, edge
of parietal, ledge of the table,
frame of the door

Answer Key

(Specimen 10: adult male; age: 20-25; cause of death; gunshot wound to base of parietal lobe; provenance: body recovered from Golan Heights)

                             That is all we know.

the symptom is monument

                             there was a fort here once, now a gift shop


                             I don’t remember why it is called Armory Hill

Zion has the sound of electricity. Or orbit. Or ejection.

                             we hide the syllabics of violence behind hand-carved

triptych of dedication, memorial, stone. behind it, a canvas

                             one must show their work. Provenance is often
                                     confused for an exotic locale. it is neither.

meadow. beach. walk. snowfall.

                             do not forget how life echoes through a table


When I was very young, I loved electrical storms above all else. I would take my blanket and small eyes and lay out at the edge of the garage, trembling. In the place where the world opened out into oblivion. A word I had yet to sputter and stumble over. My mother would pull the blanket back under the eaves, the spiders, the boxes of abandoned clothes and cradles. Or she would drag me to the back patio, where I could see only fingertips of bolts, the slightest hints of strings on the world, where the thunder would rattle the charcoal in the grill or the loose shingles above me. We lived in the desert then, at the foot of mountains that burned even in rain. I asked which of us angered the gods but I did not say it loud enough. They clanged away above me like I did after locking myself out of the house not once, but twice. The day two men tried to steal me away was sunny, but that night it rained hard and no one could catch me. That was the definition of fear, or at least its perimeter. There is nothing to be afraid of, my mother said, pulling me back out of the rain again and again, but you can see everything fine from here. Of course this made no sense, but neither did the smell of the cooling concrete, the heat rising from the ground to complicate the world.

Michael McLane completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Colorado State University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, The Laurel Review, Interim, Colorado Review, Salt Flats Journal and Sugar House Review. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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