Debrah Morkun



i could tell
the city
from a graveyard,

i couldn’t tell
the city from the tall
ladder in your room:

you climbed it yesterday

you climbed it just once
and you felt girlish


she is sky-blue and so forgets to recollect her leg in the surf

she weeps over the death
of the old man
who held a grey
tiara in his hands
before passing

he held a silver
crown in his hands
and then he closed
his eyes


Tritocosmos. Last year, the geriatric months assembled in beds, sleeping. The days fell from girl to mouth. The years broken like Saint Marie standing in earth pond. I told you, in the decades to come, we’d hold our hands open to feel the moist sweat of the turn-coat landscape as it spoils the way we hear
voices at night, those decades lying,
those centuries lying about stories
of boys who jumped onto trains
to make it to Mexico in time

to make it to Guadalajara in time
to catch the next viewing of the saint child
resting in the amber room of the saint hospital
where they stole his infant clothes last night
and gave them half alive to the farmer
whose rake glistens in the half-cratered sun


Lichen-bearers root themselves
like midnight, vast
orion-body turncoat:

when we first closed
the toilet bowl
to erect a statue

we made a noise
and they heard it on the equator


when i got to the top of the street
i saw the old man
from the motion picture

i saw his old house
with its rickety old shutters
he was in the TV room,
looked through the windows
there were snakes in his eyes


this giant train
we used to push
around the city

barehanded, we
used to push
this train
up her rosy spine

and she coughed
with the ghost
of my mother


he is messiah-wretched,

these steel airplanes
make airports
disaster and messiah-worthy

we wait for the ocean hue to mark this molten space worthy of our furnaces, to give the most clandestine approach a sorry-shift

i’m sorry
for saying


my infant clothes are in the bedroom
they are victory clothes from the last
crusade, you said it happened so quickly
the wars

i spent my last dollar

Victoria found my hairbrush made of conch shells
i was downtrodden and that is why i laid down on the earth

forced myself far off from the hyperbolic trunk

Debrah Morkun's first full length book of poetry, Projection Machine, was published by BlazeVox Books in April 2010. Some of her poetry has been published in Moria, Parcel, Bardic Sepulchral, Venereal Kittens, and other journals. She is very active in the Philadelphia poetry scene. In October 2007, she started The New Philadelphia Poets, a group committed to expanding the spaces for poetry in Philadelphia.
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