Two Texts

Stacie Leatherman


Interwading. The virility. The tucking in sometimes.
Happy trash. Overlapping labels, projects,
wires. Disorderly like rumpled morning hair.
Somehow I have exceeded the page with longings.

The roundnesses unite. A colossus. Fret and fury. Find and comfort me.
Remember the frontal, orthodontal truth. Skinny fictions. The milk moustache of rage.
I shift to include you in the pinch and clutch. The dignity of loss, of absolution.
I shake like a front line.

What if the recondite mission is more difficult because understood.
What if I understood it all and would choose to undo it.
What if wonder meant that much.
And if the songs are true? What if stars tell you everything you need to know?

They can be aroused as I am aroused.
Kernels of light
of needing to find the right groundswell.
The effect of life upon life.

It seems the opening keeps on opening,
if you choose not to remember, it forces itself upon you in some way,
clam cracked on an otter’s belly, this is the way love gets in.
Remember that seamlessness.

I would like to learn your definition of frontier.
I know infatuation. The lightning bolt that rang up everything like a
glowing bowl the other night. The United Conversation.
Everywhere people are talking. Four-leaf clovers, lucky hearts.

And truly red, each day awakens. What provocations make you salivate?
If I remember something infinite, tell me. If I can retain the memory
of the dead without recalling them. Thought and precinct.
Of use is something more pliable, an erotic position.

Enough of the introductions.
What’s the speech of sand?


I fit something inside your suitcase the size of a dime
which will cause you pain. Your dog yammers on and tells your secrets.
You the hate mail. The most anguished person to be desired. An anathema.

I’ve no ear for your brick hallelujahs. Who plans to take the glass from your lips
and walk you out before anyone can suggest otherwise?
Who will kick you from the cliff? What’s the taste of shipwreck?

The sloop of guilt, that fancy dancer, moves through back rooms, a tyrant,
no need for the particulars, simply apply one’s life version here,
rat a tat touille, effervescent. The moon, pale poker chip in the sky.

But who’s counting, anyway? Any sort of superstition we can address here, boys?
At the intersection, do you love me? Do you know the code word?
If in any case you cannot handle the precociousness of the situation,

the caves will arch your back. All is going as well as can be expected.
The gumption. Our radiating influence. Who walks off wearing the habit.
Who swears to the end. Life simply a conversion. I am constantly awry.

And routine checkups hurt; don’t let them fool you. Time a tricky word,
all negligence, negligee and beef. I am under the impression you like to have sex.
That you’d perform it with me like an execution,

a cotillion, a pasture of dusk. Make love like a glacier and raze.
The anaphora of it, how I would like to be frozen for posterity. A priori.
A posteriori, how I would like to freeze over you, grinding.

How political to want to die. How stringent the playing field.
I am nothing, but that doesn’t cover it. Even after the lechery, we’re compatible.
Where did you lay us out? No use getting hung up on the details—

I won’t see you at the bottom though we’ll both be there.
Lies like leotards cling. Do you want to circulate? Even lichen speaks,
trees communicate and defend. Who in the heavens listens

in on such intimate conversations? How is this all going to mutate?
The ecosystem of longing, the daily taxonomy? We have this imaginary address.
I haven’t been too bad, have I? Over under through all the letters,

cross referencing handy after all. The rough surgery, the unthought-of
complications, the ramshackle noise of us, ransacked, the troubled spewing,
the click of bowls, bones, their twinkling, suggestive tones,

gator eats python splits in half, how does one survive agony,
become what we call desensitized, omniscient, fly’s eye,
the stained glass, the broken and whole, the mosaic of water.

Obsessions grow like the questionable parts.
The book shaken out and emptied. The book gaining speed.
The intricacies of death, its rotund possibilities.

The lies of daily living, one foot in front of the other,
the privilege of doing so, looking up at the apprehended sky.
Leavings, the grand colorations. The political is what?

Resurrection has its ominous tone. I am full of the landscape,
the specific habitats, the lab rats.
This that this that fulcrum. I am the softest taking down.

The line between us hard to draw
I keep gliding over and over,
truth between us told.

Leaves rustle over cached animals,
bioluminescence, rhubarb, flute.
Love comes back fully reported in the end

a secret that travels but remains secret
until kept by everyone.
I wouldn’t have called it a mistake,

this love, this crop. Instead, a simple misspelling.
The slurring of boundaries. If we belch and rocket,
who will tend the garden and collect rainwater,

who will bend it all connect? Our bodies’ drawl,
mixing of species long isolated from each other—
The sun is shining deep into the earth as I move beneath you.

In the light we disappear.
If stopped at the border we row through in our boat of wishes.
Hope which is your split hand.

Hope, a hook. A benchwarmer,
a surrogate,
the sultry condition.

Do you dream in fish? Hang upside down from claws the size of dreams?
There’s so much anonymity in existence except
that you might be perceived by every single thing.

Stacie Leatherman’s work has appeared in Caketrain, Diagram, Barrow Street, Crazyhorse, BlazeVOX, The Florida Review, Many Mountains Moving, and The Southeast Review, among others. Her manuscript, Stranger Air, was recently a finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award and the Three Candles Open Book Award. She has an MFA from Vermont College and is a contributing editor for Hunger Mountain.