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Three Poems by Kelly Rose Pflug-Back

Hepatomancy

by KELLY ROSE PFLUG-BACK

 

fall upon me, quiet siege of day
let slip your rain of petals

 

your pale & baying hounds
that usher in the sun’s wild hunt.

 

dawn lets fall the night’s last fading shawls

& her body weeps with cut-glass jewels

 

thighs a blush of rose

behind the white-blond of ostrich plumes.

 

in the city I part my hair down the center like one of Ted Bundy’s victims

& write you letters in my head:

 

your beauty is the flight paths of migrating geese

whose silhouettes flap, transient

against my closed eyelids.

 

it is a godless country unmarred by the scourges of bullets

& it is no ones.

 

I cried enough to flood the Euphrates

remembering the soft curves of your body

 

Tigris, Neander

black channels wending the root systems of briars

down my painted cheeks.

 

cosmetic,

like all things are cosmetic

 

eyelids swollen fat with bruise

 

hinged black legs of spiders fish-hooked

at the corners of my mouth.

 

in my poverty I clung to such illusions

forgetting words and the placement of objects

names of whole cities.

 

my burning palms

my Shirtwaist fire

 

I would have sold everything to keep him

 

car stereos, cheap gold

engraved with strangers’ names

 

divided portions of my flesh

wrapped up in waxed brown paper

bound with packing twine.

 

in shop windows bodies hang

exhumed of the red, bunched fruit of organs

 

like the halved carapaces of spent missile shells

like grottoes to some bloody saint, left empty

with nothing in them.

 

I have seen the past, cleft like living waters before me

in the path of a black armada.

 

I have seen the future, & it is darkness pooling

in the hollow clavicles of children

 

the televised rape of nations

 

iridescence

on the wings of flies.

 

every morning the streets fill with people

& I dream of pressing my lips

to the burst hyacinth of your mouth.

 

spring would thaw the ground

& we both would fill with life again

writhing with switch-tailed worms.

 

in my mind I am monstrous

 

lurching with my arms outstretched

through the brittle celluloid of film reels

 

staples glittering at the seams of my skull

 

my body a mess of scars

too ugly to fake.

 

I am sewn together from the flesh of many,

& we ache.

 

 

 

 

 

1995
by KELLY ROSE PFLUG-BACK
You’re just the same, painting your little yellow stars:
tracing the rib cage of the bull with the toe of your boot
as rain collects in the hollows of your patchwork heart and lungs.

This is only time passing;
rain in the gutter and on the stiff bodies of dogs–
a thousand tiny hands against the window pane.
I watch my chest cavity fill up with washed and ironed yellow suns
as you put out street lights and the bodies of fireflies with your
blunt fingertips,
wasted under the thousand shining points of Cassiopeia’s exposed viscera.

We’re being consumed without apology
by this dead field with it’s four churches,
it’s soft opera of torn paper caught in the back draft of gulls circling,
bringing sad news from home.

Pink eyed mice gnaw at my bones
while the dust clots dance with trace amounts of your ghost,
moving in time to the drunk staccatos of heart valves.
They plant themselves like spores
and sprout small white flowers, like the knuckle bones of dolls.
They grow even without light,
still thriving in the aftershock of your passing.

 

 

 

 

My Cruel Surgeon, my Anaesthetist

by KELLY ROSE PFLUG-BACK

 

He is no blunt instrument

no dulcimer

 

no pantheon or high arcana

 

no periodic table of alchemical signs.

 

He is not the guttering of flames

in midnight slums of corrugated tin

 

or the dorsal fins of sharks.

 

He is not the house that I grew up in

or any one of the lost things

I cannot recover.

 

His face is not the calm repose of some patrician death mask.

His hands are not plaster casts of themselves.

 

He could be the frantic incandescence of lightning bugs

trapped inside mason jars

 

river stones

schematic diagrams of stars

 

drone missiles

Copernican revolutions

 

algorithms for machines

that imitate life.

 

He could be thousands of miles away by now

in Ganonoque or New York

 

his palms still burning when he thinks of me

when the line of a stranger’s jaw recalls my pale throat

 

my body less flawed in his memory

 

than here, in Toronto

where time still passes as it should.

 

Kelly Rose Pflug-Back is a 23-year old author, student and activist based in Ontario. Her poetry, fiction, journalism and essays have appeared in places like Ideomancer Speculative Fiction, The Dominion Paper, OBSOLETE!, Goblin Fruit, and This Magazine, as well as numerous anthologies. Her first book, These Burning Streets, is forthcoming from AK Press in 2012. She is a contributing editor with The Fifth Estate, America’s longest-running anti-authoritarian publication, and has worked as a broadcast journalist with independent radio stations across Canada.

 

 

Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)

To submit to Poets’ Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at counterpunchpoetry@gmail.com with your name, the titles being submitted, and your website url or e-mail address (if you’d like this to appear with your work).  Also indicate whether or not your poems have been previously published and where.  For translations, include poem in original language and documentation of granted reprint/translation rights.  Attach up to 5 poems and a short bio, written in 3rd person, as a single Word Document (.doc or .rtf attachments only; no .docx – use “Save As” to change docx or odt files to “.doc”).  Expect a response within one month (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions).

 

Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology.

 

For more details, tips and suggestions, visit CrowVoiceJournal.blogspot.com and check the links on the top right. Thanks!

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