The Flying Phalangers
You and I are filthy but it is
our filth. Look how quick the clouds
when you expect bad news. Here is
a telegram I have never received:
Please. Hold out hope. The best
is nowhere in sight. Why always enough
time for lonely but insufficient
time for full. My cup of tea held something
dead in it. The fly I named Henry
because it had that look. Remember
when the magpies muttered like toys
outside the cabin where we prayed
for no more rain, no more secret
wild animals. When you face the wolf
do not comment on the color of its eyes.
Do not waste time trying to find
beauty in all things. Reserve your awe
for mammals in flight.
An Account of a Child Born Alive without a Brain and the Observables in It on Dissection
I wept for the suffering of dolphins. By that
I mean the cicadas, by that the rained-over slices
of bread on the gravel, the birds that mistake
car antennae for homes. Do you recall
the words that god said. No.
How could you. It was all in tongues
and arms and legs. It was all
in those children’s hearts, the screamers.
No more solutions. Only this:
my severed arms. Someone has severed me
for stealing the merchant’s peaches.
Someone has hanged me
on a public street for slander. A common
mishearing. I said, there is no
hare on the moon, and they heard,
the tribunal heard, there is no end
to your hunger and fasting, and fastening
the rope, the reaper told me,
the mechanic told me to smile.
I did. He showed me his tongue.
Tat Tvam Asi
I met god. He was my dog. We laughed about it.
Hello my loved one, I am drunk. I am
a circus freak. I hobbled up the road
just to see if you could see me. Blur me,
blur me, me. A tribunal of geese
told me to seek my father, to pen
a letter: Hello I am your spawn.
Wherefrom do I come. What’s your nexus.
And the sky shot blanks shot blanks. I will die
here on this planet here on this blur, me.
Daily, a man would come to my door to sell me peanuts. He had been punched in the face, time and
time again. You could tell by the way he smiled. That was the most romantic part. His teeth like
shattered diamonds. You have a mouth full of chance, I told him and sucked on the peanuts’ outer
husks. You have a mouth full of loss. That was the most romantic part. It was the seventeenth floor,
which is prime and unlucky. All things in their prime are unlucky. There were never any lovers in that
hallway , not even at night and you know you know what the night does. Peanuts never stayed the
night. Just the please miss would you like to buy some nuts. Once I begged him not to go but he
grabbed his gut like he had an animal in there. Once at a stoplight I saw him on the corner smiling
his sweet mangled face at a lady with two children. I saw stars. The kind you see when someone
wrings you out. I yelled to him leave me out to dry why don’t you and you should’ve seen his eyes
then. Since that day no peanuts but I adopted a cat and did not name it. That is my comeback, the
nameless animal skulking around the apartment, the invalid. I make little replicas of the invalid out
of soggy toilet paper and place them all around so the cat gets a startle here and there, seeing itself.
Never saw Peanuts again but suspect he jumped off a bridge. My mother told me never to get angry at
people because they could jump off bridges but she’s dead so I’m back to not knowing anything.
One day the invalid inspired me, how it ate at its nameless paws, and I burned my birth certificate. I
come from the future. I told that to the man selling hot dogs but all he wanted to know was do you
want any mustard. I wrote a song for Peanuts on the inside of the hot dog tin and sang it to the
invalid. Peanuts, who touched you that way? That’s as far as I got but someone told me it’s all about soul
and I still have one. The lady on Elliot St. tried to get me to see god but I told her I’ve already given
everything I’ve got for a chance at the big leagues. She said when the rapture comes there will be no
time for baseball but she’s wrong.
All of my tattoos are souvenirs. Right now my favorite is the bear on my back, which I got on Capitol Hill in Seattle a few years ago. He's standing on his back two legs, one paw raised, and has these big blank eyes that are terrifying and beautiful. When I'm out in the woods, I like to think he scares the real bears off.
Anaïs is the author of the forthcoming chapbook, Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2015). Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Phantom Limb, PANK, Birdfeast, Blackberry, The Quietus, The Conversant, and Transom. She was born on a little island in the Caribbean during a coup d'état. She has a website. It is here: www.worksofanais.com.