FALL 2011





Kimberly Walleston

The Baptisim
There's a secret written on the shoreline. If you pinch a whirligig between your thumb and forefinger, hold it to your lips like an oyster, you can suck out remnants of freshwater innocence. And if you wave your pinched fingers, like a delicacy, or a parading pageant girl, you can create a symphony. Every note will be an invertebrate with parceled skin, ten legs, six eyes, and a melody reverberating off its antennae. Or a fish with peacock plumage and Ugly puckered on its lips. It will bite a hook thinking its swallowing Saturn. Not Jupiter, because that is on the other side of your thumbnail. With which you pinch the whirligig, hoping it doesn't spill sacramental wine down the front of your Church dress, just pressed, flowerfresh, still smelling like Jesus. I think he smells like coup d'état and seagull ambushes, fat leaves floating on thick water. It's curious how the birches grow from nowhere; their roots retract inward and hold on to their kidneys for support. If you peel off the first three layers of skin, you can see the large intestine bubbling with sap and accusing the beeches of Martyrdom.


Second Helpings
The birds assemble in 45th Battalion of the 14th Brigade, toting a company of bitter sparrows with a streak of bad luck running through their plumage. The Crow posts on the church cupola, coughs out orders with a crucifix. His feathers are slick and black like oil. Oil, oil, he oils the mechanism that does his bidding, rusty branches of a broken weathervane. Fluorescent fly trap. The metallic buzz that slices through silence, through innocence, through September… October… November… Indefinitely. But you can't take the Enemy sitting on a shock wire, nor can you predict a storm with your head in the dish of Ignorance, eating it up like sweet honey, so that it sticks to your throat like sweet honey, and you're left licking your fingers with delicious disgust and listening to the birds play morning taps.


Baby Barracks
based on art by Renot Lopes

These are easy times
for infidels
for nothing is so simple
as a faithless follower,
setting standards by stripes
and worth by stars
and loyalties by borderlines and
shades of skin.
When I cock my gun
do you hear angels?
When I turn the pages of a loaded magazine
are you reborn?
Into the hymns and headlines of popular culture
boasting our best lines
and freshest gun powder.

It explodes into melodies
like the cry of the infantry
placed in play pens,
penning place markers on foreign walls,
pinching pictures of husbandswivesgirlfriendsboyfriends
between loyal thumbs.

They form lines like playground roll call
where first is worst
second is best
and third is the one
with the bullet in his chest.
And no cutsies,
you'll get yours too
when they take your motherfatherbrothersistercousinfriend
your faith will find you then.