What does it mean      when all we have between us
is the lap lap lap of river water           against a blue cheek
the smell of minerals and fish              the grit of the shore

And do you remember                          when you told me all you saw in me
was the void and cloudless sky—       do you remember the rush of stars
on our faces and when I leaned in     I whispered and you turned

and took my hand        What does it mean when we emerge together
with twigs in our hair and mouths     And will you rescue me
over and over again     Do you promise                       Will you save me (more…)


When you said we each choose our own death I asked your ghost
to guide me. Among your abandoned drafts: silence and spaces,
the height of the flame, the torn page, blood under the words.
When the wound was cauterized, you painted your lips around it.
I’m talking to you, Clarice.
And I will keep your secrets, everyone else’s on top of my own.
I won’t speak of the spells you cast, how in the dark
you’d search for the words that would steal something
back from the dead. And those parts of yourself
you thought were dead. The lives you could’ve lived.
Husbands never understand words like yours, or gods,
or bodies. How the name you were given,
one I’ve been called before and in anger,
was buried behind others until you were.
Twice forged of mutable fire, under a new moon
and planets laid down like stones on a grave.
How many marks of erasure, how many pages you let burn.
I’m with you now. The moon’s in your sign again.
Full just past dawn, and my body will rise to meet it.
Do you write the story of decay or does it write you.
Did you cause more harm with your hands or your mouth.
Like you I longed for silence but someone always near,
someone there to weigh each breath. Your ghost was me
called by another name. Like you I was a night person. (more…)

Learn to swim for the express reason of jumping ship.
Marry knucklebones and kerosene.
Paint your face like the war machine it is, invite the anarchists over for tea and cheat with the one sitting closest to you on the left. Give her a fake name.
Burn your stomach walls thin with coffee and dark rum then tune the shreds of your innards to drop D. Pluck. Repeat. Ignore the fact that you took 8 years of lessons and still can’t play.
Don’t sleep – the hours of 11pm to 4am are reserved for smashing your heart open like a piggy bank and realizing you never did save anything.
Scream like a goddamn banshee.
By the time the aching in your throat stops, the ringing in your ears will start and soon you’ll realize the ringing is in your head, and in your fingers, and your stomach, and never on your phone. Dial 9-1-1 then use both thumbs to play chicken with the “call” button.
Cry when the steps to your apartment look like familiar teeth. Cry when you remember where the books on your shelf came from. Cry when you miss your mom.
Beat at your chest like the empty oil drum it is, fill it with the cardboard from all the 12-packs you weren’t the one drinking, take the last of the kerosene you divorced in the end and light it all on fire. Light yourself on fire, change your mind, jump ship.
Ignore the fact that you took 8 years of lessons and still can’t swim. (more…)

Wore lederhosen       didn’t realize that wasn’t Viennese
wrong Deutschenvolken       oh well breadwine turns out to be
delicious      Why isn’t there a Greek god(dess) of glassmaking goddammit
Hopfenweisse sounds funny      but it feels serious      oh my
Behlolt: Metal chests suppress rot stink common of humans       not to be smelt in
purple       Even a drunk theos whiffs synonym bourgeois
These fancy bone boxes hide fascist insecurities      Wonder why you
throb to different tyrants with different tyrannies       Suddenly a drunk old
divinity is woke      Blame the hops        blame banana clove       notes        but
number me w/ the fists bashing fashfrogs        digging fingers to
foreskin like a bagful of Bugles      sideswiping swastikas as they
squat in their tracksuits      pulling glass thorns from scuff faces who
forgot papa’s name         as he drift             ed on the raft      I am
last night’s filthiest well groomed god        & I will testify to your
vain refusals to let go that you never held on at all       that the
sacred scrolls       skulls      scripts on your caskets do not need your name
or your dust to remain beautiful.



Seth Copeland edits petrichor, and New Plains Review. He is a recent MA graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma.

Everybody I meet says Thou Shalt Honor,
from the olives to the apple bins. The celery hearts to the pickled
eggs. From the flat, happy families gracing those fat-free chips
to the slick space-soldiers blasting their subtext through
my DVD binge. Those scuttles that tick down the bathroom walls.
The mysteries that clog my kitchen sink. The caption
on every cat meme and the email winks and your eye-twitching
cameo pop-ups that still police my wrinkled dreams.

I see it in random Tweets. Screen it as a secret
betrayal that spins from the rainbow pinwheels I faithfully fail
to iAvoid. Alive to dead to the traffic stops between, this whole
ungodly world readies its stones, purses its spit, shape
shifts, calls me Ungrateful Child. And I can’t drink any more
Family über alles. I say: if you felt in all good
conscience that you needed children to be complete,
then who did you believe You were? So I live (more…)

First is the matter of the killing.

              A deer is best done in the half-light.
              You can whisper to it so it believes
              that it’s safe, even if it isn’t.

When the sky turns molten and
you can’t feel your hands,

              you’ll know that you’ve finished.

With the deer still painting your skin,
dig a hole in the ground, wide enough

              for the entire forest.

Swallow the green and climb inside. (more…)

I met a pimp today in Atlanta
by a broken train
flanked on either side
by creamy butterflies
pale and dark in equal measure
carrying his soul
fairies in another life
dressed in fishnet wings
adorned in opal stores
some call them thot
I think them acrobats
of love and other things
that bump a lot
switchboards for libido’s
cudgelling gust, turbulent
winds that need tending
glistening hideous human thrust
the pimp’s flies spoke
and dazzled me with tongues
that felt too pure to doubt
scared me numb, guts spilled
but thrilled to death
all in the same breath
giving me fresh supple
nervous laughter I had
been sorely lacking
ejaculating words of wonder
“Where did you come from?”
frenzied scalping thunder
like I just discovered America (more…)