Colorado State University Center for Literary Publishing

Excerpt from Supplice

A little heap of salt.
The breath of two asleep,
her hand on his desert
face, his knee
in the bight of her waist.
A Middle Kingdom cult.
The death that isn’t deep
is what millennia believed
was set aside for you, oneiric
white sand sun lagoon.
An arctic meter melts.
The rest is pillars
falling two by two: she wakes,
he wakes, he sleeps, she sleeps.



The other shore
garden of untended
heartstems, forked
succulents, tangled,
a seine to trammel
all intimate talk that
crosses. The coin-on-the-tongue
price of crossing is that
he retreats, she repeats
scores of times “system
error” has lost
his mind at a fork
in aortic, riparian,
intimal talk.



Harbor hidden in the heat
beneath a desiccated wing.
White wing of the wíthdrawn claim
that there’s an unquestioning
guardian for any human
in whom something more than
humanity hides. A ship arrives
with crates marked medicine, meat,
flour for the starving city.
City at war with authenticity.
Battered-smooth bits
of an old wrecked question drift
in with the tide. What flour is this
that so resembles ash?


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