Echo as testament. What’s happened has.
One foot in, the other foot in the first foot.
Like music that asks something of you.
Like a small animal pushing its nose against your arm.
Bids for attention both overlooked & mimicked.
In a dream, I speak to you of dreams, & am interrupted
by a new dream. It washes over me like sudden salt water
& I am scuba diving & all I find is you a city of you,
this nation of brightness that scrapes my flesh,
that initiates me & won’t say for what.
Whisper tornado into a tornado.
Imagine art constructed without blame.
The graveyards perk up. Is watering season over? they ask.
Can the dead smell a storm like dogs do?
You roll kerosene around on your tongue.
The practicality of a great wide space.
The impracticality of grace.
Yes you say. This will do.
Landscape in Red
Expectation is its own wholeness, cold & chewy at the center. Hold something in your lungs now, air or a rock. The word lover is closely related to many other words. You can lead the future to a bar all day long but you can’t make it drink.
Three tarot cards across a faceless table.
No—give it a face. Carve it a mouth,
pinch its neck, tilt back its head & cry drink!
To the gods of garbage. To their cousin gods
of the neural impulses of a thunderstorm,
gods of the meek, ignored pulse of an inkblot.
Q: Is the head so faithful to its terrors?
A: On the backs of the wild horses of night
cling equally wild cages—
Snow at the throat. Snow lit red.
This can be called a magnitude
of excitement. What electrics
circle the brain. Fuck you
& the tripwires you rode in on.
Ruth Baumann is a PhD student at Florida State University & holds an MFA from the University of Memphis. She is the author of three chapbooks: I'll Love You Forever & Other Temporary Valentines (Salt Hill, 2014), wildcold (Slash Pines Press, 2016) & Retribution Binary (Black Lawrence, 2017). Her poems are published in Colorado Review, Sonora Review, Sycamore Review, The Journal, Third Coast & others listed at www.ruthbaumann.com.