I—grifter-reaper, gleaner, griever of vermin—wade
through famine to find the thread that will fit mine eye.

As if an antidote of the utmost motherly doting,
or self-loathing, I start in the bog, blow cobalt bubbles

with the frogs. Its lager is my fetal lake. Do you hate me
as I wax hectic-poetic on the cardinal: his crimson

incarnadines something as seemless as the sky,
blood-pierces the blue broadside as I go earthward

to find the germ in the charm of eons of churned
death. Now, over it, build a deck. A cavernous space.

Build a personhood confounded into a continuum.
Add mnemonic material and I’m a “me”. I can see

my past. Each lived moment tries to placate
the impossible. Replace this moment

with the moment in the mind. In it, I’m not
muzzle-imminent, terminal-internal. Not passive.

I choose things. I lose things. What if I’d said crow
instead of cardinal. Said cow. I can outlast what I lack.

Can I outlast my lacks, echolalic as tracks in snow,
as I slink never more core-ward than in the compost’s

overwrought rot apocalypse, tentacling like a sketch
into the dross, into the rich filth, as if rewriting itself.

Its errata. Into what it truly always was. Rattled at
the blast site but Intact as an instant is for an instance.

Then forever slant. Noctambulant, needly with no sleep,
I cross into the dustheap with my serpentine refinement.

Real go-getter: quell the compliment to make
your inner-snake feel better, feel the ebullience

of an all-spine body as it glides into the rubbish,
lush with elucidation. The moral sense

of a shed bull skin inside your small animal body.
At sunset, the sun’s undone into a peachy imperson-

ation of itself. In the cartoons, the lightbulb petrifies
the idea, places a lit lemon above the clarified head.

That’s not what we have here. Nestled in the necro-
crevice of an earthquake, I toast the venom

of this new heaven. I build my nest with what the bull-
dozer pushes. Buried in the heap is a belief like blacktop

on the arid earth, a beak on a plastic berry. An onyx-
winged toxin of what was once a bird. I search

the reek until I find its feather, a bellwether,
an umbilical tetherling. Create pictographs of the life-

ash, hieroglyphs in high gloss on an already lost rock.



Kristina Martino