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  • Robert L. Giron

Issue 71 — Michael Larrain, Miles David Moore

Michael Larrain

Sweeter Still

Not even apples

are as sweet as water

in the middle of the night

after falling asleep after making love

after all had seemed lost

the night before

Now the sight of you

turning in the tangled moonlit linens

like some other, older form

that water has descended from

is sweeter still

your breasts swimming out of your body

and breaking into purest elsewhere

your muscles moving

as though music

were swelling under your skin

I’m warm in our home

beside my heart’s companion

but I can hardly wait

to fall back to sleep

and wake in the morning

and hold you

Copyright © 2014 by Michael Larrain.

only early every always

Only when. Only when you come walking toward me down the beach, silver spurs jingling softly on your bare feet, will I be able to steer by the first few stars, and by the salt adhering to your warm brown skin. Wait there for a moment, would you? As soon as I reach you, my arms will know what to do. Now all we can see or touch or say is promise pure and simple. Whatever you feel is known to the air around us. The golden syllables along your spine will welcome me home. How good to have hands. Let me brush the stars off your body and the sand out of the sky. Only then.

It's early, so very early, when, lovingly, we quarrel with birds because we cannot distinguish treetops from sleep. Did the world decide us or we decide the world? Now the apples can carry their handfuls of snow across the river without fear of pursuit. May I twirl you in the water while we lie here, may I mean for once early what I'm doing? May I early your eyelids and your neck? No one's early been this happy before. First light is always the last to know. Sleep would take you back and be glad of your company. But let's just be happy and thoughtless and silly instead, because, after all, it's still so very early here upon the newborn earth.

Every day every time every chance

every danger every lover every dance

every kiss a final notice

every call you'd rather not take every call

you'd rather not make every single drink

every question in the dead of night

every breakfast every berry

every girl delivered from worry

every time you have to cut the blue wire

every name every story every stone

every letter of the unreadable alphabet drawn

upon the sky etched into your face and body

every pardon granted every kindness recalled

Always our fingertips ask the shape

of the ever-changing world never

for an answer but always to prepare

for the tumblers falling into place

just this once the messiah of timing

just in case

Copyright © 2014 by Michael Larrain.

Hope Chest

The dreams of the nude figurehead

steer the ship

which accounts for the comings and goings

of the velvet rope

Nights can be reconstructed

from the insides of dresses

The tape threaded in you

turns at the speed of the earth

pulling its rivers through space

My blood sleeps

in the fine blond hair of your thighs

I can hear the furniture yearning for lemon oil

None of my crimes is imaginable

Copyright © 2014 by Michael Larrain.


Michael Larrain hails from Los Angeles. He is the author of four collections of poems: The Promises Kept in Sleep, Just One Drink for the Diamond Cutter and For One Moment There Was No Queen, and How It All Came True: Poems for My Daughter. Rainy Day Women Press of Willits, CA, has released a CD of his reading of his selected love poems called Lipstick: A Catalogue for Continuous Undressing. His novels are South of The North Star, Movies on the Sails, and As the Case May Be. His children's storybooks are The Girl With the Loom In Her Room, Heaven & Earth, Homer the Hobo & Ulysses the Goat and Wilder & Wilder Still. He lives in Sonoma County (California) with his wife and eight year old daughter.

Miles David Moore

Hopper: Cape Cod Evening

(at the National Gallery of Art, Washington)

Only the dog is alive,

standing alertly in the brown marsh grass,

ears and nose quivering, pointed toward the distance.

The dog is indifferent to the squatting man.

The grudging stretched-out hand is bereft of treats

or anything a waxwork couldn’t give.

The cross-armed woman slumps against the window,

straitjacketed in her hard teal dress,

wishing the man, the dog, the world were dead.

The blue spruce forest crowds against the house.

The closest tree lifts a branch against the clapboard,

tasting it, judging if it’s time to move.

Copyright © 2014 by Miles David Moore.

Ships and Barges

Some wreck themselves on the rocks

or, more perversely, against each other,

drowning all that swims or flies

in the smothering darkness of their poison.

Some, with damn-the-torpedoes courage,

sail into Force Five hurricanes,

and all that survives is synecdoche

of flotsam, jetsam, caps and shoes.

Some dock at home in a hero’s flourish

of flags and trumpets, the people cheering

the brigands who will rob them blind

in the flash-toothed sale of cargo holds

engorged with zircons and mica.

Then there are the quiet ones,

weighted with coal and bread and wood

till their gunwales are nearly flush with the waves.

In daylight, their rust spots fester;

at night, their lights are faint

even to those who would die without them.

Copyright © by Miles David Moore.

Previously published in Passager.

A Vandalized Churchyard

The headstones that withstood

A thousand storms and snows

Slant broken in the mud

Like fallen dominoes.

And that’s the way it goes.

Why should we make a fuss

About some shattered stone?

To be anonymous,

Unheeded and alone

Is the one truth we’ve known,

So do the dead deserve

The dignity of name?

Time throws all life a curve;

It’s just a children’s game,

From age to age the same.

Children must have play

Before they go to bed.

They run an ancient way—

Where those now ashes led—

To unname all the dead.

Copyright © by Miles David Moore.

Previously published in Measure.


Miles David Moore is founder and host of the IOTA poetry reading series in Arlington, VA. His books of poetry are The Bears of Paris (Word Works, 1995); Buddha Isn’t Laughing (Argonne House Press, 1999); and Rollercoaster (Word Works, 2004).

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