Giraffe, Rene Farkass

Giraffe, Rene Farkass

Old Woolen Rug

Published: August 1, 2013

By Therese Samson Wenham

Naked, we sat on the rug and talked
even though the wool was old and sharp.
We were hungry and chilled;
our knees pulled in tight.
We hadn’t made love. It was after
the hot bath and the long phone call.
We no longer noticed that we were naked,
or that there was a room. A man
had died that night, and even though
it wasn’t sudden or mysterious,
life pressed a subtle question
and suddenly, I could not sense
the journey or name the adventure.


The Lake Steam Baths

Published: August 1, 2013

By Therese Samson Wenham

One must learn to be fearless of bodies –
the aged as well as the young women
stripped of adornment except marked skin,
perhaps a ring. Mercy offers her salts.
She works naked and barefoot in the wet room
giving scrubs on a tiled bench out of the heat.

The double-garage sized sauna holds dry heat.
Twin ovens fuel the oxidizing of tiles and bodies.
Iron plumbing exposed along the waist of the room
sprouts spigots of icy relief in black buckets for women.
Thighs and brows pearl with sweat-salt
rubbed crystalline into softening skin.

Everywhere there is the truth of skin;
bathers rejuvenated in wet heat,
a quiet solace of steam and heat for salt-
of-the-earth. Long-nippled, rolling-down bodies
or small-breasted jaguars: these women
walk equally naked through the white room.

The scent of the eucalyptus room
invites us to its moist steam which skins
the ceiling in webs of droplets splashing on women,
their conversations muffled in a fog of menthol heat.
Daily stress has pulled and strained the body,
to be assessed with a grain of salt.

If I listen, I can hear the salt –
conversations kept low and deep in the room
pushing beyond the cloak of the body
and allowing us to peel back the skin
of what does not matter in this heat.
We are all shades of skin, we are women

in the kinship of other primordial women.
As always, we are mining the salt
we taste in tears, which the intimate heat
extracts from the pores of all in the room.
Thus we climb into the peace of our skin
dressed in braver bodies.

Liberated by the heat, transformed by the room
Blessed by the salt, united in skin
We leave, purer women buoyed by our bodies.


Elindy Searching: The Introduction

Published: August 1, 2013

By Kobina Wright

The last box of tissue she found was under her bathroom sink.
She had counted on it not being there
among the bottles of dollar store shampoos
and conditioners, the brown bottle
of hydrogen peroxide; the package of disposable razors;
toilet and glass cleaners.

Yet it was there like she thought it would not be
in the crowded cave of quiet waiting things behind
the lint brush she kept upright so as not to collect lint.

Elindy’s eyes were like the blazing pink skies of sunset
and stormy simultaneously.
She could not say why even if
a grenade pin had been pulled and set in her lap.
Her words tumbled into paste
mushy and damp in her mouth when attempting
to explain herself.

No one listened though they peered
into her stormy sunset eyes and studied
her clumped lashes and jagged and spittle thread mouth.
She was the subject, the matter on which to examine.
She didn’t know and they couldn’t make her.

They looked around the house with her.
Her friends did, until the knot, tied in her throat
grew like a desert weed, spiked and mean
and the roots crawled down the throats
of those who looked around with her.
Not even knowing what cursed thing they looked for.
They couldn’t ask. She didn’t know.


If She Won

Published: August 1, 2013

By Kobina Wright

If she won she said she’d buy a sloth.
She says she’d hug it after work.
Walk through the door, put down her purse
take off her pumps and pick it up
because it will need something on its chest for comfort.
She’d keep it inside and she’d spend hours
laying on the couch watching detectives
solve cases using forensic science
as it laid on her chest.

People look at her, politeness on their faces.
They imagine her embracing a creature until
they can’t hold the image. It falls.
Like dead owls out of trees.
Some imagine her hugging herself
wearing a jacket with nylon straps
and metal buckles sitting on the floor
in a cell with soft walls. This slips too.

They find themselves thinking about
the last time they’d seen a real sloth
or if they ever have.
Their minds search. Where they come from,
how to get one,
if they’re legal to own.
Their data is sparse and they’re a little embarrassed
about it.  She has been talking and they’ve missed
the last three minutes and wish she’d stop talking
because she’ll never win the lottery
and even if she did wouldn’t buy a sloth.
She has a cat named Brian.


A Red, Driven Moon

Published: August 1, 2013

By Quinn Rennerfeldt

The heat makes him translucent – the gel
of an eye, wetted rice paper – as he pulls out
of the fields, rumbling down dirt roads under a fatted
moon. The heat presses close, every breeze a wick

to light the night. Sweat nests in his
moustache and his fingers, knotted with dust
and sun-swelled joints, take long moments to
unglue from the steering wheel.

His tongue cracks against a sheet of cigarette
paper and the tobacco refuses to hold
under such a weak flame but it’s there, under the smell of
dead grass and dusted cow shit, a vein

of water in the air, a sky looking suddenly
fecund. He tips his chin back hopefully, throat
opened like a mewling kit, and then: a cicada
on his tongue, the cloud of locust young.


And Kafka’s Bones

Published: August 1, 2013

By Quinn Rennerfeldt

The snow leaves us
goose-pimpled and milky
as we plunge into the stand
of pines. We stop on your grave,
caught, collecting;
a writer of worlds lies here.
Possessor of lungs
and hair; clerk
and Czech. Insect
animator; sickly lover. Just
a grave-baby now, mouldering
beside the snow-robed nobodies.


The Hoarder

Published: August 1, 2013

By Tim Kahl

I’ve made a pact with my two sons.
I hide the candy, and they find it and
eat it. They expect to score a coup,
and I control the surplus. The household
performs this little Marxist drama over
and over while the dog, imprisoned, sleeps
all day and eats the stale pretzels it is given.

I enter the kingdom of parent heavy with
privilege. I am hoarder extraordinaire.
I keep the news of the latest tragedy,
the hateful violence away from their eyes.
I disguise the world as dangerous appliance.
I sort out its power cord tangle
before my two sons turn it on and play.

I clap my hands and command:
child, child, entertain me.
I want my innocence back again,
so let’s play the one where you hunt
the Bubble Yum, scan for the coveted Skittles.
I am weary of being cautious, careful
about what I give away,
and if you discover where I’ve kept
my sweetness hidden, I’ll let you inherit
this favorite little Chiclet of wisdom:
A stash is not a stash
until there’s no memory of its burial.


A Meeting And Introduction, In South America

Published: August 1, 2013

by Robert Schwab

Bishop, the poet,
not clergy,
was struck by
how handsome
was the middle-aged priest.
White hair, snowy
above a bright
cherry-red face,
blazed by the sun
and whiskey. His
girth middling and
suggestive of a
strong man, forearms
black with dark
Irish hair. “Casey,”
he said. “Father
Clete Casey,” he
said – to her, directly
to her, as if she
had been the one
he had come to meet.
“Elizabeth,” she said.
“Elizabeth Bishop,
I’m a poet.” And he
shook her hand
warmly, not seeming
to want to let go,
and said, “I know.”

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