Colorado State University Center for Literary Publishing

Excerpt from Scared Text

Mirror Seed

The sky divided and so did I. I watched my mirror seed a cloud. The house rained. Identical heads echoed. A dead oud’s resonance cloned the first presence. An apple in the attic developed a tree. I felt the sun.

I fell into an open field. The clone smiled. I have never seen a clone smile. His snails grew fur. The closest ant grafted the smoke with sand. This is the first piece of wood. This is the first piece of glass. Clouds arranged them behind dead doves. The membrane’s séance broke. The doves died again. The dead doves reset. I arranged them into flowers. I have never seen a flower. I have never seen a dove.

The sky and its stills mated. I have never played an oud. I have never said Bird. O snail, I heard outside. When the first dove died, the ouds ate apples. I died too. My glass fermented opals. The second séance failed, my fur glued to flowers. I have never seen a cloud. I have never looked down. The organ smoked. The clone strummed. I fled, immersed in flames. The mirror chimed. Dove. Oud. Field. The bloomed membrane’s array split. Inside, the blanks bred herds.




A Delphi

Minus tried to write his own bible. It began, So what, saliva. So what, milk.

Iris told us her dad died in space. The whited-out vowels rang in my ears. Stupid moon. Stupid burned-up blind spot.

The doctors said his name had burned up. We never knew how it sounded.


The city refused to see my brother. He banged out his nerves on birthdays. I use years, and they remember.

This was in the annex of the indivisible.

Escape your leaves, Minus said. I said, I have never used camouflage. It felt so good to lie, all that noise loosening inside me.

I like lies.


The burned-up hills had grown more graceful.

I like hills.

They feel like hands.


When I wasn’t looking Iris re-named her tongue. Hey, Solo Swarm.

Her questioning pulled. Why are you always floating?

She said she tried to sign my name but the ink was immature. Stupid minutes.


The city wasn’t looking. This city wasn’t old enough to look.

The city said, This city isn’t old enough to say.


Minus told me not to breathe when the doctors floated by. He sat on the floor and covered his mouth. I hid behind the blinds.

This was in the entrance of the opposite pharmacy.

Minus’s bible began to speak. Hey, Solo Swarm, it streamed. Iris’s saliva was turning sharp, straining itself through her teeth.


In the organs of her father’s owl, Iris heard half of her name.

My brother threw a brick at its head. He was helping his cells divide.

Iris scratched the city’s face with the keys she had in her hand.

Whatever the opposite of prophecy was was what I was listening for.


The city decided to follow me home. Can I ask you a question? it said.

I put my gum in the subway slot to keep it from saying my name.

Hey, Owl Boy, can you hear me? Hey, Mister Face, what’s your name?

I would like to be called a different house. I would like to be oxen and bread.


Minus water. Minus air. Inside the house with a tree growing through it.

I woke up alone with my feet in the branches. I woke up behind the sky.

The doctors took the needles out without removing my sheet.

Iris was outside holding her breath. My brother had floated away.


The city appointed a second owl to see if my brother had drowned.

The owl was sifting the blanks in our herd. The city was clovered in sound.

I like noise.

Iris likes space. She thinks it feels like snow.


My brother returned from the burned-up hills. He contracted a diffident voice.

Whenever I asked him a question he branched. He woke up outside his breath.


Minus’s bible was reading itself. All those invisible vowels.

Crossing out the sky, the landscape stretched, moving the apex of the so-called.

An inverse tone accrued in my tongue. The octave’s egress bruised.


Iris awoke with wool in her mouth. Grass grew over her eyes.

The doctors thought she had seen the bad wheat. She will need a second reading.

Minus’s blindness spread to his hands. His fingers were starting to slow.


Inscribed, blighted, tongue filled with snow. A throat so other I entered my name.

The blotted-out passages hummed. Beetles bloomed underfoot.

This was in the attic of a different house.

I slept throughout the stings.


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