I prayed as I do every night by yoking
flame to spliff against a bathtub
claw. Lord oh
Lord please let my brain dry
out. Smooth as silk against my ear
drums, which aren’t sharp
in the bath. I submerge the pinna, stirrup, clog
the anvil & auditory canals until I hear my own
rhythm, my freaked heart
my freaked-ass heart thumping only
as the ocean, as an accordion played on open air.
I find myself on the way back
on the way back I find myself.
My hideous loins, unkempt unclaimed,
cadence like a half-drained battery.
The joke goes, How do you want to die?
I’ll choose the bath, the silk pulled tight
across my eyes mm that good/
good mm that bliss/bliss. Sweet hot
nescience. Is this the point of sheep’s wool,
Lord? At Thunderbird one time behind
that one tree limned with daymoon I saw
a man gift his son hot chocolate and say,
This is for praying for
The only way I want to die is before
everyone I love. Since that has not
worked out I guess I’ll pray,
lighting the spliff, smoothing the silk
for a short amount of time.
You ask about language and I
have talked about the untamable
shape of words so many times but
this time I just make circles
around the kitchen table
like an uroboric dumb-dumb.
In 1908 if a woman laughed loud
ly in public they would limb
her into a box
folding the elbows
tucks of thigh.
When you say, Preoccupied
I think uh
oh I am really adrift.
You keep yourself so far away
like in a box
like haha but not too loud.
When you say my skin is smooth
I think of seals,
I want you
from across the coast, googling
fools, are they ever
I would open myself
like a parasol in rain.
And if English could sound like music. Or French, where it rolls.
And then it can be liquid, or how skies swerve.
Why winters go better with night feelings, and music and death are friends.
When gin sews lullabies into brains.
If lonely lie
in a creek and think of gold.
The fear of waste
or why you must absorb the moon.
So roll your tongue and move away.
Like a dance. Keeping time. Like clocks.
Like your eyelashes are long, silk and wheat.
So if they rope me in and teach me how,
make time slow, then gold is temporary.
And the music and the music.
So you’re lucid and it hurts.
Like when you look up and are all, But what does it mean?
and convince yourself it’s different, since it’s you and time is gold.
Fourteen carat clocks. Carat crunch.
Heat and waste. Orange and gold.
To wake you up and help you fall asleep.
To drink and write and stretch and lust.
So you make some eggs and sit. Breakfast: the least lonely meal.
So if you burst and guts spill out, they are orange and gold and hot.
So if you sit and cry and think, then your brain becomes a clock.
Body smooth like glass. A single crunch of gold.
And if dried violets appear along your sink, know your heart has shrunk.
Why brains and hearts, and music and gold.
Like when time. Like when time.
Like when I type and bathe, and clocks and gold, and I stop and think
the world is warming.
One stone hot in my palm.
Am I Allowed
The last thing I saw at night was you
on my phone on a mountain
eating a roast beef sandwich.
Not like how each night I rip from root
to stem an anxious rosebush blooming in my brain
bonefried dead from trails of curling purple smoke
truly I mean smoking a joint
to keep my lungs above the sand.
I’ll miss you, which is a line
too obvious for poems
but when my mother
yells at me one of the things
is to stop burying the lead.
I’m not on Instagram, you said.
It gives me hemorrhoids.
In emerald pools below a disco moon –
these. The most charming words I’d ever heard.
I post the biggest sandwich I can find.
You like it so like it. Now what happens next.
Leah Yacknin-Dawson is a writer from Pittsburgh, PA. She recently earned her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where she received the Fania Kruger Fellowship. Leah’s work has appeared in StoryQuarterly, Hobart Pulp, Midway Journal and more.
Clare Koury is an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture, video and sound. She received her BA from the University of Chicago in 2015 and her MFA in visual arts at Columbia University in New York City.