Elizabeth Kate Switaj


even if my jacket were leather
                                              (steel spiked
                my tofu steak
                                              or something tougher
even if I drank
                               Milwaukee's Beast

I'd still sleep
still have mouth & nose
                            open to disease

I was somewhere in between
& nevermind love)
                                     when Jon raped me

Fog from I-90

this thin veil over land
   & not respecting lakes
makes trees into carpet
   & houses      baldness
where no one lives or lets
   birds & beetles kill
what they desire

     is not this gray that makes
color blend in color
                  & is not even gray
but sharp patches curving
into each other
                             still diverse


all ten who have begun in gray
shelters on gray curbs of free
ride zone
                  have avoided
seats in reticulation
             gray accordion heart of bus
   half loved to spin in
                                     as old as nineteen

& given up to no avail at ends
                               of floating bridge
rising from water
                            as our feet rose stairs
                above mass transit tires

no one can tell
when they begin land
what song is on iPod
leaking from white buds

                                     & no one on a cell phone

                      we've been this way before

The Rapist's Son

you've never even heard of such
things when your crayon-thick pencil turns
breasts into fingers
                               sperm into one-eyed monsters
                swarming measured
with your first shaky numbers     (you don't even know
how many by your fingers

     wax etched in housepaint
will follow your first knife
                                    This isn't destiny
                                                your line
scotch tape palimpsest can't save
(except your name
                               was his
           straw beneath acrylic god
no handmade book to save
the blooms of your Proteus(tor)

October Head|ines

rescued climber survived
on centipedes overlaid
      fractal generated
      shamisen strings
                               & feather breaks

   the very mathematical
(possibility) he'd be saved
made strumming their legs im- (

another world
                                with a broken ankle
crawling through southern Mt. Baker
devouring creatures    w/excess
                                                         of walk

(o investment bankers

Elizabeth Kate Switaj (www.elizabethkateswitaj.net) has two full-length collections of poetry forthcoming: Magdalene & the Mermaids from Paper Kite Press and How to Drink a Floral Moon from Blue Lion Books. Her chapbook, The Broken Sanctuary: Nature Poems, is currently available from Ypolita Press and her echap, Shanghai (has more capital) from Gold Wake Press. She edits Crossing Rivers Into Twilight, blogs for Fringe Magazine, and serves as assistant editor for Inertia Magazine.

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