In the desert the branches peel past     on their way       falling to

mambo or samba with the           oxygen.                  Mosquitoes make anyone sorry

                                                                                            needles and blades

to be caught in soft armor

  too tender to concede.

                                                                    The ancient Greeks used seven kinds of nudity

all speaking marble (I memorized none).               Nudity has nearly given up on me.

                 The spider’s        disc         deadly and                            intricate                the coma’s hope.

                 last breath


threads                  punched—

Every warm morning walks in on chainsaw legs

and the same pavement that shepherded us here has no intention of bringing us back—



bright fountain                                     rest of the sky                        flame?

(Motion detectors wasting talent in a mirror.)

They know no better.

(For every person on this earth, fifteen hundred stars.)

                                                                                                          bright fountain your heart                              odd rhythm


                                                                                                                                     O bright fountain, fifteen hundred stars—




When the vulture swoops past the power lines, the doves depart in a body, like the morning has caught a complaint. The vulture, who dips lower only to scan the world’s surface for the puddled evidence of death, has no intentions toward the doves, ill or otherwise. He has never killed a thing, never stalked his prey, never hunted with a partner or alone. But his shape cuts the same palm of shadow that says flee. What if I made a palm of my longing and dragged it between you and the sun? Lately I’ve been afraid some winged thing will be confused by the paradoxical nature of glass, leaving a shadow behind when it hits the window. I have witnessed this aftermath—not the mercy of instant death, but the twitched stillness that is the vulture’s invitation to come closer, and wait.


Becka Mara McKay directs the Creative Writing MFA at Florida Atlantic University, writes poetry, and translates Hebrew poetry and fiction. Publications include A Meteorologist in the Promised Land (Shearsman, 2010), Laundry (Autumn Hill, 2008), Blue Has No South (Clockroot, 2010), Lunar Savings Time (Clockroot, 2011), and Kaleidoscope (Mosaic Press, 2014).



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