Patrick Cahill


An incision crosses your heart. Lenticular clouds. The Witch’s Cap. His features emerged from the philosophical delirium of the furnace. Your skirt a shade of rust, you wore a large red feather in a large black hat. Amator to amateur. You slid into third and leveled him again with your lips. Or Latin for lover. You lack all calibration, either full on or off. Their wings spread between each breath, they glide on the thermals. At Diamond and Bosworth the 52. That or 40 below in the interior, your face against a confluence of optimism and ice. Your double deceived the assassin but ended her double’s career. While you await the 52 to Persia and beyond. The hornet in the sonnet. The arsenic in the apple seed. Their feathers forming wings in the blood. The harder they come. And on the thermals they translate your knowing in their flight.


Your liquid selves displacing the arid there           Twenty traces in twenty towns           Your lover gone you fill the space with his photograph           The picture arouses an intimacy the lover had not           You touch yourself and feel the heat entering your fingertips           The blue of the Badlands and just as intense           Your touch           so what           The music scattered           well you needn’t           peace piece           Night lightning and under its violet circuitry your Badlands graph the night           You whet a bone to make a knife           You conjure sleep to dream a knight           His slow metallic gestures glint in the light           Les mauvaises terres à traverser           mako sica           a convalescence from butte to butte           Cheat medicine           Striations of its buried life           The Badlands you’ve just begun to cross

Patrick Cahill received a doctorate at UC Santa Cruz and wrote Whitman’s Photographic Eye: Vision in Walt Whitman’s America. His writing has appeared in TriQuarterly, The Daguerreian Annual, you say. say (Uphook Press), CLWN WR, Homestead Review, and The Medulla Review, among others. He has received Phelan and Central Coast Writers awards in poetry and coedits Ambush Review, a San Francisco based literary and arts magazine. He also volunteers as a Rec and Park Natural Areas gardener.
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