Colorado State University Center for Literary Publishing

Excerpt from Family System

Family System

We’re in a giant mom and dad linked by a heart.
We’re going round in circles in the figure eight
made by their bodies and cinched by their heart.
Where their lips touch is another kind of heart.
Where their stomachs meet, a third type of heart.
They sort of know this, but they’re too busy convulsing.
They think they’re a constellation fastening in space.
And we’re going with them on a vague run
for groceries. It’s a long ride in a station wagon.
It’s the screwy roads of an upper-class subdivision.
You think they resemble a galaxy spinning,
but to them you think it’s like being inside two plants
joined at the stalk. Which might be right—
I’ve also been guessing. And wanting to twist
like they do, wanting to try some weird positions
and see what happens. I saw a model of it once:
A smaller arch passed under a bigger one
around what looked like a tomato slice stuck on a flywheel.
That’s not how I’d describe it to them.




A Simile

Certainty happens the way lovers persist in relation to sleep.
They search separate walks
in distant towns at the same hour of the night
when subtracted by their age difference.
One is dreaming. She tells herself a lie
in which she never rests. The other is wide awake.
He’s determined as a list.
They find each other and think love is not unlike what it is to age.




A Paradox

Although there aren’t rules you are against them.
You bring curfew and we break it. You bring contraband
and strange light marks the sky, again.
Once, we were locked in the stem of a flower
that bloomed only at night. I was an owl who swooped low
before the car. You were the song you hummed.
We dressed in tassels and in leather. You made a map
from a barbed wire. You put on a shoe over a shoe over a shoe
and then you were a river, and then you were a bend.


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