Four Texts

Mark Cunningham

Burying Beetle

He got pushy about this being a "non-hostile sequence." Read a page, wash my hands, read a page, wash my hands: to protect the page. When I heard myself say I was the one that they were looking at, I realized I had turned myself into an object. After the rain stopped, the wind puffed and tumbled my clothes and my belly button filled with lint.

Red Shift

I wave to the driver in the other lane, but he's already passed. When she started to talk to me through the bathroom door, I realized our relationship had crossed another boundary. "Iced coffee" used to be a contradiction. Men who call their wives "mother" rarely listen to acid jazz. Whatever it was clamored for attention so long that we got used to the clamoring and could ignore it easily. Hammer and banana rhyme.

Fish Crow

The doctor lifted the tongue depressor out of my mouth and I made an unhappy sound. I thought the meat was nicely marbled, but then I was stoned. I remained phlegmatic as the snake nudged out from under the stove. Myra said that when a falling star lands in water it becomes a starfish, but that was too deep for me: I wanted to stick to surface reflections. At the birthday party, I threw the shadow of a talking horse on the wall and we laughed so hard that one child snorted and another peed right where he stood.

Light Curve

A circle, a set of points equidistant from a central point, is defined by neither what is inside it nor outside it, and it is empty and full at the same time, so you have to talk about it in a circular way. Gravity: adds for academic jobs all use the word "diversity" in the same way. No one trusts me because I am still of two minds about pluralism. My left eye twitches in no particular rhythm, but I can’t show it to the doctor because the twitch comes and goes. She told me that I shouldn't let it make me more nervous, so now I pay attention and ignore it.

Mark Cunningham lives outside Charlottesville, VA, and has poems in recent or forthcoming issues of Practice, Parcel, and Dusie. Tarpaulin Sky Press will be bringing out a book tentatively titled Body Language, which will be a sort of diptych containing two collections, one titled Body (on parts of the body) and one titled Primer (on numbers and letters). He would like to thank Joshua Seigler for filming his hand.