Julie Strand

Charcoal
after Christian Clark 6X6 (11)

A river of vases in May
a river emptied from vases.
The pigeons have drowned.
They float like bells. Stack,
reach, hang from trees.

Postcards coo one
after one after four after
flock. They lay names over
the woman. In June they cover
shoes, July they hold her
waist, August they’re kissing
her shoulders. Flock
becomes pile, pyramid,
a hook on the crescent moon.

By the harbor, pigeons
tremble September.
In front of the aquarium,
they group, body,
bed the park benches
and pedestrian paths.

By November,
ants flower the woman
flower adrenaline
like television static. “I
will not be a pile of months,”
she stands, and drapes
the windows with naked
vaults, waltzes and turrets.


Moan, map, memory
after Brandi Homan’s On the quite contrary

Moan, map, memory we
were ruddy once. Folding
and fingers crossed. Grazing
behind, under, all over inside. Moan,
map, memory I draw
genres of lines colors and shade,
permanent and pencil
horizontal, diagonal,
straight and broken.
Scratches and slips,
of paper. A forest rebuilds.
Moan, map, memory drives
my hands slowly
and smudging, along each.
The leaves,
roots, trunks, and bark
are browns, reds, dark.
I count my memories
like sleep, remember
backwards from 100.


Current

You saw my cheekbones as islands, not yet
and under the ocean’s wavy
top. My muscles a school
of fish to keep close in ropes. You
never liked milk and now things fall
for you, pieces of body lost
and swimming. A swollen
and scuttling basement, nothing
but teeth afloat, wrong
in the warm shallow of mouth.

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