Sylvan Instance

Come over.
Help me bury that

where-do-I-bury-the body look.
And the bullshit tree I was born in.

While your eyes were closed, it snowed, but only vaguely.
Reminds me of a breast a friend described,

so white  it held the world up for a time.
This drag I take to stave off loss.

It’s winter now, your hair the color of cornfields

behind my childhood house
where we all rehearsed our cruelty. 

And the Eastern Sierra hills
where I slipped

out of the rope that held me.
Girl wrapped round a steering wheel, girl strung

from a tree. Reached
by summer,

and unafraid of after.

Black Ice

Unsure of my footing now
this has always been
the grim attendant,

the darker child in him,

I thought was mine.
You can make the word in your mouth, you can utter it even,
but nothing is ever, whatever
his curious vowels

who puts a gun

inside a tulip, feeds a spider another spider.

I’m not saying his eyes were not oceans.
I’m saying those oceans were knives.

Mojave Roulette

I still know joy.
Rooms I’ve wrecked, and rooms I’ve left so careful.
Hymn of the boyish hair and the golden limb.

Do you worry for me?

Butterflies killing
all pretty on my windshield.

Who can name this flower or cancer faster?


Pretty sure
I dug out that infection:
the cabin a file of dead boys.

I think of those forearms while driving,
get stuck in the sand.

behind those oleanders,
there’s good

in his veins &
I feel born enough to kiss them.

in the dark
under stars.

Louise Mathias is the author of two books of poems, Lark Apprentice (New Issues Press) and The Traps (Four Way Books). She lives in Joshua Tree, California.