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Memorandum pink
the magnolias
are currently remembering
every last spring.

Fog clung
as fog will do
to the hills over the river
in Owego.

I kept wanting
to put an s in somewhere.
I feel my mind 
like a buzzing hive
acrawl with cooperating bodies.

All the colors of the last weeks
bled into a single stream
of light from the headlamps.
Every river we've seen
the same river.

I'm as chipper as dime-store
but it's just as cheap.
I'm watching you
watch me & wondering
how to pose, how best
to catch & beggar
the brimming
of the river
alongside us.








Going sweet
at the sound of a certain
voice is a wrong
turn sometimes

Let's wander
into the desert & do
our best not to wander out again
until we've truly starved

It won't take long

We are very small
         fellow animals

Do you remember
the pale then bright
yellows of spring
when those still came?

Droplets of water
collected in patterns
on glass
when we still had glass
to keep them out?

I remember

the clear bald light
of the apocalypse
separates into rings
on the ice








Gelid      silver thaw
a gliding into sleep
            well that's for someone else

I'm a word on your tongue
coined geologic ages ago:

Deaf like me
means I can hear even very
subtle shifts in you
& sound has color the way shade
in the woods has scent
& dominant land vertebrates

Innate        which branch are you
the person you are
standing upright
in a glaze event storm

A body can be sufficient shelter
even at its weakest moments
of atmospheric density

Cruel pixels
your heart is in the right place
but no mountain          no orbit farflung    
no all-sucking collapsed star
could be more wrong

You're an age
that must come to pass
the heating of the plates
the cooling & drying of the climate

Glaciations scar
every tissue          so
we'll grow them








This isn't how             it's supposed to work
& play suspicion             along golden edges

To represent            the journey
you'll need a stack           of pages

the time the trip took you             plus
all the days you'll never          get back

A blank in every socket
a locket on a chain            glowing

at the edges          in a shroud
of dark enamel               In the corner

the dresser speculates        What
comes         tigereye at last

coaxed open       What agate center
of us        rife with rhizomatic

lily of the valley     sweetly
scented         toxic

the last thing









When is pleasure     a pressure

I've got a new gap        in my line

the way I feel things         sometimes instead

of hearing them            It's not easy

to explain            Speech is not remote

but a solid thing          that slips      

& you & I are          both receding into it

into backlit space            frosted

& agleam                  like galactic junk

The pond once              teemed with us

Alienation never knows        whose pronouns to use

We live under shame's grammar           accent grave

Yet dissenting                 like the new shoots

that form in summer            from the barest

green of spring               so many buds

no catastrophe's           maxed out enough

to crush








Shanna Compton

Shanna Compton is the author of Brink, For Girls & Others, Down Spooky, and several chapbooks. The Hazard Cycle, a book-length speculative poem, is forthcoming from Bloof Books. These newer poems are from a fifth book, as yet untitled.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2016

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