An Occasional Bird Finds Itself in the Wrong Dream-Set & Exits after Disorientation
A self-punishing round, a milk-trope: the
milk-wraith’s end is to loll susceptible in a bathtub
at the edge of a peninsular pier. Her frailing body
blares when the curious or lecherous or
either-more-so-because-drunk men walk to her, there in
the white bathtub, milk-warts barnacling its walls, on
the bone-grey wood above the 110° milk-tea white
water, below the milk-tea white sky—an
undifferentiated horizon of slowness, quickness,
sadness. She modulates in milkish & perfumes her limbs
with mimosa to mask the must of curdling warmth. Word
from her milklings arrives less often than she’d grin.
A goalpost pokes up from the sea just offshore & west
of her tub—now a tollbooth to tally the blundering &,
later, the blunting of her only company. They like the
faint whiff of mother her skin gives off, are tempted
by the only female ribs for hundreds of miles. It was
her choice, this lacteal space of relative calm,
proximate to perversion, or perversion-on-the-mend.
Until said perversion encounters the figure essential
to its milkscape. But she revives, protects her bones
by piling afghans on the porcelain floor, stays warm
under an accumulation of others. It’s her duty, part
of her milky agreement, to lift them off & push them
over the tub’s edge when a new toll arrives. The
blankets float, until the milk penetrates their
strands. They sink, milk-weave returned to milk-sea.
Yet there’s never not time between tolls to knit
herself a new stack: she pulls up yarn in myriad
colors, textures, from the drain-holes. She smiles
quietly & arranges her milk-bleached hair. When she
sleeps, she tucks the bamboo knitting needles in piles
of hair or nestles them between her ribs. Only the
flash of cicatrix-across-rheumy-sky rouses her.
Milk-sun unhinges milk-moon; milk-moon is not her
The Annoted Leopard's Prayer
Our Father Our Father1 Our Father2 Our Father Our
Father3 Hail Mary Hail Mary Hail Mary4 5 Hail Mary
Hail Mary Hail Mary6 Hail Mary Hail Mary Hail Mary7
1 Sick rattle below. Fermenting snore along. I fixated
not on feudal maiden rape, as did the social studies
teacher, who wanted one girl, mousse-crunched, on the
back of a motorcycle he didn’t have. Knightly.
2 Our touching was hands once. Her father and I wore
sweatshirts from the same wildlife preservation
series. His was the lesser panda. Mine was too big, a
man’s, over a sweater. I kissed her in my head. I
kissed her on the mouth. Ungracefully but long. I
crammed my eyes with embarrassment and bore down so
that she couldn’t protest.
3 Electrical systems. A breadbox kept me whole and
clammy: Rumpy waiting to enter my adolescent frame.
4 Reared in bars, I sunk pool balls like stingers.
5 Debbie (neighborhood transvestite, partial to
spandex)—my vote for mom’s new best friend.
6 Letting him in finally. And real licks.
7 I was concerned with repetition and cavern, the
failure to tally right as a rupture above the next
8 Toe-lint constellations on the walls were a shrine.
I gave up my body in ever-renewing bits.
apocryphaltext Vol. 2, No. 1
2 poems by jessica bozek