Untitled I & Untitled II

Sylvia Shale



Untitled I

Away from these hills
& the scraped river,

the fireflies dip & glide.
I injured one,
flicking it off my knee. 

Past the pool’s precipice
    a saucer catches the runoff,
the lawn catches the saucer’s runoff,
    the hills catch the lawn’s runoff,
        valleys catch the hill’s runoff
            a river catches the valley’s runoff,
                The Gulf — The Mouth of Despair —
                    catches the river’s runoff.  

                        Shea’s eating oranges
                while watching fireflies.
                He’s expecting his first child
                sometime between Leo + Virgo.
                I prefer when depressives have children:
                happiness + lineage,
                    what disquiet.

                    In the night an insect
                    fell on my chest.
                    I awoke to swat it.
                    When I raised my hand
                    each fingerprint glowed
                    with iridescent viscera.

                I threw the firefly to the floor
                innards glowing, draped out,
                just a still ooze.

            I fell asleep,
    the glow at the floor,
    warm, but cooling:     where lava meets the sea
                                                                       & a fetus departs from its womb.     

                    what disquiet.

My dad
hung clouds & airplanes
from my bedroom ceiling:    & there it was,
                                                   the comfort of

                        to the sea
                in textures
                beneath the waves.     


    I’ll repent once
    Mercury no longer retrogrades.
    Until then, listening to “Close¹”
    is as close as I’ll get.             

My bride isn’t in black jewels Clarice².
She dances in the disquiet of
a broken frame rate,
glowing as a specter.


¹ Robert Lippok’s “Close” from Open Close Open [Raster-Noton 2001]

² Clarice Lispector’s The Passion According to G.H. [1964]


Untitled II

Solace softly sounding, falling
from the cottonwood’s grey-green canopy.                      final couplet

Chris Burden’s antithesis sifts silty river water
between her toes and mouth                                           opening couplet

A glass grapefruit at night —
the arctic sun failing to set.     
                                           center couplet