Poem

Five Poems

Monica Youn

Ignatz Invoked

A gauze bandage wraps the land
and is unwound, stained orange with sulfites.

A series of slaps molds a mountain,
a fear uncoils itself, testing its long

cool limbs. A passing cloud
seizes up like a carburetor

and falls to earth, lies broken-
backed and lidless in the scree.

Acetylene torches now snug
in their holsters, shop-vacs

trundled back behind the dawn.
A mist becomes a murmur, becomes

a moan rising from dust-choked
fissures in the rocks, O pity us,

Ignatz, O come to us by moonlight,
O arch your speckled body over the earth.

Winged Ignatz

There are twenty-seven feathers.
                  There are fifteen
                  feathers on the right
shoulder blade, twelve on the left—
                  curving outward,
                  then streaming
down the back. When I say
                  feathers, I mean to say
                  lines. Undulating lines,
more like hair than like feathers,
                  since, unlike feathers,
                  these lines do not convey
a ruched or corrugated effect,
                  as might be rendered
                  by layered tiers of scallops,
or by a fingered edge. Instead of lines
                  I might more precisely
                  have said cuts—
discontinuous cuts, dotted with blood clots.
                  Flinches cluster
                  at the clots
like mayflies, as one imagines the blade
                  snagging in the skin,
                  where the cuts
cross one another. Mayflies, too,
                  are winged, but
                  no one wants them,
unless to convey a sense
                  of the ephemeral: a fan
                  of surface scratches
that splay across the shoulders
                  but do not break
                  the skin—merely
exhortatory, inviting one to read
                  the underlying cuts as
                  dimensional, on the verge
of lifting out of the skin, unfurling
                  above the shoulders,
                  lines of blood
fleshing themselves, then
                  feathering themselves,
                  in strength and mass
rivaling the body, muscle-bound,
                  that submitted
                  to give them birth.

Ignatz Domesticus

Then one day she noticed the forest had started to bleed into her waking life.
There were curved metal plates on the trees to see around corners.
She thought to brush her hand against his thigh.
She thought to trace the seam of his jeans with her thumbnail.
The supersaturated blues were beginning to pixellate around the edges, to
                  become a kind of grammar.
Soot amassed in drifts in the corners of the room.
She placed a saucer of sugar water under her lamp and counted mosquitoes
                  as they drowned.
A soft brown dot loomed large in her concern.
She pressed her thumb into the hollow of his throat for a while and then let
                  him go.

Ignatz Aubade

Star maps of broken capillaries:

                  crown of infrared
                  song of drifting dune

The smooth-boled trees of his interior
blossoming and unblossoming:

"I spent six days almost touching you."

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