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Rain handwritten in the leaves of the silverbell, their white trumpets,

slips of ghosts in the dark drawing in fast at my back.

Here I am in the inner courtyard, your face like a slap.

René Char said, bring the ship nearer to its longing.

      Well, I keep trying,

sneaking out the windows at seventeen and throwing myself

from airplanes over the devouring seas. It’s no use,

like a ouija board, I keep turning back up

in the place where it all began, an ideomotor effect of the fingers in the mind,

labia parted like specimen, like snarl.

The lights of the interstate sweep with wings. Oh, Otherworld, I hear your


I followed the edge of the highway, keeping low,

esophageal tunnel of woods, hush, hush

and I sang the whole way north and every song was a psalm to you,

the you of my future lover, the you of arrival and advent,

the you that sprang from my guts every time I was hit or kicked,

green bruises like the leaves in the boughs.

The you of my being I imagined beautiful out of the penetralia

of that molt self. Promiscuous with love,

its viscera in the cup of my mouth. Brake lights of cars like hibiscus

against the black umbilical road, a house left behind, cut off.

The cunnilingual softness of night closing in, head thrown back.

from ThrustFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2017
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Heather Derr-Smith Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.