from :Odyssey & Oracle:
& low sky & thick air & I oil
my hair with rosemary & peppermint to ward
off migraine & other demons. the sun
bleaches me to milk-glass, my heart
slows to nine beats per minute & each
flutter crackles, fractures
Tolstoy & his brother believed anything
they wished would come true if they could
stand in a corner & not think
of a white bear. I don’t think
of a white bear so hard, I can’t think of a wish.
* * *
& understand: I made my own mistakes & slept
unwisely. when two separate events occur simultaneously
pertaining to the same subject in inquiry, we must always
pay strict attention. relative creatures & corrupt
relations. our shiny happy fits
of rage. needs must read as
translated into French from the original German: language
is the house we live in. not logos—
legos. in the unlikely event
of nor’easter, batten the hatches. stockpile
boutique water & 100-calorie snack packs.
* * *
& there's a benefit to being vague & passive, sure— just
remember which deals you're prepared to make. together
we are snark-hunting, we are an agony in eight
fits, we have learned to keep the dark & twisty
bits private. why implicate everyone? you are so
tired nothing seems real & I am infinite
paper in a paperless world.
I am holding my breath for the part
where the machines take
vengeance, where the biker
gang sets the sky
* * *
& this, the riddle of his existence— time no
arrow, no boomerang, but a concertina. howling
bloody murder is a murmur. he sent up a flare, carried
a torch. he built a bonfire & kissed
like a child (sincerely & with intent
to disarm). which dreamed it? you
won’t forget to wave?
messages sent through improper channels require
a decoder ring. mine is a clever disguise, is it not? part
sparkler, part statue. the mirror never breaks. never
melts. nevermore. he was an ache at the base of my
spine. he wasn’t at all, not really.
* * *
& of course, the Neverlands vary a great deal: your quarter-
million electric lights, my land-locked Luna
Park. & who it was & what it was. & that? that’s
the princess who loved you even though et cetera, et
cetera. away from the clamor of roller
coasters & shooting galleries, she sets
the table with cups & cakes.
the sword swallower & the bearded lady waltz
their way to the music-hall, past
the Kinderbrutanstalt hatchlings, wet &
wobbly. the mermaid tears tickets, flicks
her tail, whistles down the whole cabaret.
Jenn McCreary is the author of :ab ovo: (Dusie Press), a doctrine of signatures (Singing Horse Press), and several chapbooks. The entirety of Odyssey & Oracle is now available as a chapbook from Least Weasel Press. She lives in South Philadelphia where she co-edits ixnay press with Chris McCreary, wrangles twins, & charms snakes.