The electron looks like it wants you. Nothing flashes desire
like acrobatic ambivalence. Like irreconcilable cleavage.

You want an unfailing confusion, honest against you in bed. Not your
other half. Your inmost mosaic, your micro shatterings. Not a mirror.
An atom’s latticed window. Through it,
a tiny bird flying in every direction at once.

You send the electron an advance. Tell yourself it must be real,
it must be real, to account for missing
momentum, missing energy. (more…)


I see everything through invisible atoms
that scrape the white brown field
and peel a roughish patch on my knee.
Schoolyard thick with spruce smoke
curling through throat dampers and open flues.
My sister and I play a game
stealing each other’s footprints

until we arrive at dried hollyhock
voodoo oranges stuck with whole cloves
satellites hanging in the window of our grandmother’s kitchen.
With the critical mass of family confessing drunk
squatted in the ash green of her living room
it is time to open my new puzzle but I do not have the tools. (more…)

Happily, we go under

By chance: the same round eyes, bony hips, cold and blue
inquisitive hands, softly angry mouth. Our heads level.

         And on me, these heavy tattoos on my back
like a vein infection. Identical calligraphic twists
across the stranger’s stomach and breasts.

Years ago, for both of us, the ritual wrapping in cellophane,
the oils. Black ink throbbing on us, and as hot as our blood.
                              Me, sleeping alone on my front for so long,
                              her, sleeping on her back, with ceiling fans,
open windows spitting their curtains in the wind.

We hate, we say, how they look on my back/
                                                                my front.

It’s not a hard decision to make. On operating tables
in a tiled room we go to sleep at the same time.

Gloves veer in close to touch us now
as smooth and pale as washed up stones.
She feels it when the anaesthetic bears down on me
with its hazy, cool insistence that we shut our eyes.
At this moment I do not think we are afraid.
          I am not thinking of scalpels at all.
               From now on we will never be apart.

When I wake up her nipples are on my chest like pink flowers
on an open casket body. They have the permanent look
of the sensitive blind eyes of someone very old. I never
imagined an embrace like this around my ribs.

The stitches are so small as to hardly be seen. My skin,
tight over her vertebrae, like an envelope for a letter
accidentally opened once, by the wrong recipient,
                                                          and then resealed.

Needles have been handled well, by the artists
who gave us our skins, and those who skinned us later.
As if we stroke the cheeks of newborn kittens (just as tender,
just as puffy-red) she touches my belly, I touch her upper back.
Whenever we look at our new bodies,
              tattoos intact and back to front,
                             it will feel like aeroplane turbulence in our guts.




The sickest platitude

I dreamed my ex boy had lost his eyes,
and skin had grown over again completely
like a sheet of crushed grey satin

and before, I had loved his clear eyes, sorrowfully.
Skin I’d kissed, grey, even (god) his hands.
His translucent bony scalp. I said:

“It looks better than the last time I saw you.”

He looked like a scabbed animal
that snatches its rare sleep up in branches
or at the backs of silent caves.
This was a disease he had, it bent his head

down like a curse. He was so tired.
He stewed in blame across the table. He said:

“No – it’s worse.”

Guilt washed me like a baby. There was nothing
I could do to help. Neither were we alone now. I said:

“Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.”

I was embarrassed for myself,
speaking a shoddy mortal language.
It felt like a bruise to the nail bed:
it stayed with me all day.



Lenni Sanders is a writer/performer in Manchester, UK. Current General Editor at Cadaverine, she makes interactive performances with Curious Things and weirdo poetry cabaret with Dead Lads. Tweets at @LenniSanders – hear some of her writing at


A Poem Is a Binding Spell

First, fall headfirst into a hole that is
so perfectly fitted to your heart that
you will never again be free of it.
Always have your tools with you.
Never let a moment go without a glance.

Roll in the scent like a pack of dogs and
carry it back to your den.

Take that rare color, the gem of a sound,
the shoes that you noticed side by side in
the grass, the feel of the tube down your throat,
and smear them on paper as fast as you can.
Don’t think. See without eyes. (more…)


wormhole to the floor, witch-lifted.
split inchoate rum & coke

pressed to throat enough
finds me glorious.

feed him my body little pieced,
washed & wrapped in gilt eye

               -liner & alka-seltzer. sweet
                twitch of pansy petals from my
                hair our mouths the only un-
                pronounced hulk in the room (more…)

The Avalanche Effect

The story of the suitcase was true, but the painting wasn’t in it. Oh, well. Things progress when there’s a mistake. The next 48 hours are going to be crucial. Don’t mess with women who are into gore. I haven’t the slightest doubt that my own relatives planned to kill me. It’s too awful here. Yesterday we heard something that sounded like rocks being unloaded from a dump truck. Those were gunshots. I stepped outside to take a look and saw descendants of Marcel Duchamp selling snowballs on the street. (more…)