Mark McKain

with a line from Amelia Rosselli

Strange taste of ash
on the tongue like the massless beam
of neutrinos produced by the heat of the earth’s core,
traveling undeflected, undetected,
except for sensors beneath the Antarctic,
savoring radiation from within.

77 or 24 geo-neutrinos detected. George-neutrinos. Father-
neutrinos. “To the point where neutrinos are actually felt.”

From Ice Cube. From the heat. From the heart.
Sensing sweet tyranny, I taste your death … shame,
shame, guilt, melancholy. Strange joy.

Postcard from Flawless Disharmony

Monday, overjoyed the Hohokam,
masters of irrigation, poisoned fields with salt, petroglyphs
a sacred poetry or ad copy: where to get good drugs and avoid side effects.

In my dream an upright sloth,
long tongue saying follow early blossoms, avoid monotheism.
Inebriated by canyon’s birthday cake stratigraphy, fossil brachiopods

ticking like an entropy clock.
Yesterday, we logged the friction of oceans, witnessed solar decay,
thankful for infinitesimal calculus—best tool to measure the flow of our loss.

Pearly Mussel

A short-term brooder, long-term melancholic,
contemplates subtle,                  chronic threats to its riffle:

positively pessimistic, remembering
the genocidal                                alchemy of mercury

from the defunct alkali plant. It delights
in gravid females                         mid-May to August

and eyes with keen interest the shiner it hopes
to implicate as host,                    rosyface or saffron.

Mark McKain's work has appeared in The New Republic, Agni, Subtropics, The Journal, American Letters & Commentary, Cortland Review, Superstition Review and elsewhere. He is the recipient of Writing Fellowships at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Vermont Studio. His latest book Blue Sun is published by Kelsay Books/Aldrich Press. He teaches screenwriting in Orlando, Florida.
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