Back to Issue Twenty.

the right way



No matter how often you talk to the night
the night will not tell you its secret name.

Mine is Lola. As I hum this, mosquitoes
hum my scalp, off-key. I can tell they believe

we can be, in the blood, anything we want,
but I want to be liked, as if I was a girl bent

over the hood in twentieth century floodlights.
Shut up and rotate the tires. Rare is the mechanic

who replaces your brake pads for free and then
castrates squirrels in the off-market quiet

of his own shed, said my father, the philosopher-
rat in a dream perfected by twentieth century ennui.

No matter how poorly you flirt with the tomatoes,
the tomatoes will blush, delicious and American

as the fear of not being fucked back the right way,
and though I’d be remiss to say what constitutes

the right way, it is all about atmosphere; up against
the fence, which is faceless; inside a swarm

of hands and genitals you can feel in the blood
where you are anything you want for five thrusts.

Before the garage door opens, I’d like to ride you again,
dear bicycle, if only to where I’ve already been.


Kara Candito is the author of Spectator (University of Utah Press, 2014), winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize, and Taste of Cherry (University of Nebraska Press, 2009), winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. Her work has been published in BlackbirdAGNIThe Kenyon ReviewjubilatDrunken Boat, Forklift Ohio, The RumpusIndiana ReviewBest New Poets 2007, and elsewhere. Candito is the winner of a Pushcart Prize and the recipient of scholarships and awards from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Council for Wisconsin Writers, the Vermont Studio Center, the MacDowell Colony, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and the Santa Fe Arts Institute. She is a co-curator of the Monsters of Poetry reading series and a creative writing professor at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville. She lives in Madison, WI, where she reads, writes, eats spicy food, drinks mezcal, and dreams of living in the tropics.

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