Back to Issue Forty-Three



You strapped
into my written words. Not what you whispered
in dream; I licked

the nub of patch:  Do it,
do it.You wrote

questions you and your man turned
over while I watched through your letters
from your damp city.

Would we be happier in ourselves
if the other weren’t there?

Won’t you always be away?
Sex that we not
against the shelves. If only I were inside

that you would melt
me like that blur of line let up in sky,

butter of starry paint. I cannot stand
to wait, must for your letter, must not
have much beyond this heat to be so thirsty

and fatalistic: as if the meat of that bear I see
in sleep were eaten with my hands;
as if we drank its bucket of juice.

Strap me to you: pull
yourself inside my hurt and force
and force.

I am embarrassed to be so tight.

I write to you when there is no salt lick,
no jet skis brushing eddies across the river.
Collapse on me when you cannot be with his rot.

Keep that which you wear around your waist
against the moon of your not mention: my fear
of being with




Sleet hits sideways against the windshield
along the mountain highway. I wait
for a text from you. The railroad lies
empty as the tracks almost always are
before the freight finally barrels
through. I feel a cleft
between the fields and I open.
If ever there were one for me: you; seared
in my head and branding me with obsidian.
The sky is pink above the mountain ridge, fizzling
apart and clotting, menstrual, like gradations in the rock below.
Chase the cone and watch it tear through another river plain—
wait and watch wind die against the poppy stalks.
Any darker and I would destroy myself but
you think I’m soft as the willow draped over the cellar door.
Charisma of the electrical charge seizing
power away from the house.
Barn pounding against the lock.
Over and away, wind cuts
through the valley and gains with the little space
it finds, like a song feeding on its own momentum
the more I chant it, my hand tapping
the dasher, as I am as boring as my dreams.
Twister of the mountains. The wind blows hardest
within my waist. When the lightning begins, I can rest
knowing the storm I crave
found me at last. Chimes chime.
A hound hounds. My heart knocks.
Let that cylinder encircle itself with its silver
lip, widening and funneling,
its hips angled out
and open, furrowed
grave of homes in its way.
I am the twister twisting
around myself again.


Dan Kraines is a writer and teacher who lives in New York City. He earned his PhD from the University of Rochester.

Next (Kathryn Bratt-Pfotenhauer) >

< Previous (Adam Falkner)