Kyle McCord

Your Dream of Unfaithfulness After Unfaithfulness, Tracy  

You like the dream I have where you’re an alien octopus and keep falling down

my grandparent’s stairwell.  I want to bring to justice

 

whoever has done this.  But you’re pretty much all animal, all the time

by this point.  In your dreams, you aren’t terrified of octopi or birds or bogs

 

where the ground swallows back for miles.   You put more screens on the windows

just to prevent one northerner from smashing relentlessly into the pane.

 

The bird may be no more than the symbol behind the bird, or not.  You consider

the apples drifting like ballasts above the saporlings, and this is about trust, you say.

 

Once, after we’d loved each other intensely, you reviewed me like I might never die

which is the great betrayal for the beloved.  Now your new love lurks at the grocery

 

and mimics tree bark, the way the skin becomes a coffin which keeps the living thing living.

At Iowa, you wanted to write a poem called “Beer-Batter My Heart Three Person God.”

 

And in the dream arbor, you write it and have no one and only apples and saffron.  In the dream

there are intricate pieces of broken glass that eventually you come to call mistakes.

 

October is Beast Month, Melissa Burton

When we get beyond beauty, out to where the roast simmers

and the light pivots blue before materializing into another Texas, another topography

 

crackling to life outside the bedroom.  When we get beyond the desperate crash of love,

there’s the dog performing inadvertent ninjitsu in his sleep.  There’s breakfast.  November,

 

which is the month of phantasmal hotels overlooking the Atlantic

with their Shining-esque waitstaff and the sea stirring like a faltering memory.

 

Here, I dreamed us on a log covered in lichen.  I don’t care to tell you

about the splitting skin of the flats or all the places the heart inters itself years before.

 

When we get beyond beauty, we are still there.  Inside the symmetries of your pupils

are just further ratios of onyx and burnet and ribbon-thin worry.  October is the month

 

of enchiladas, of rain.  And our friends morph into the slightly slutty animals they truly are:

busty bees or topless badgers.  I don’t care to tell you how the party ends

 

in a series of mutual unmaskings, the revelator always also the revealed.  On the log,

we are beyond the persistent beauty of it, of love, and we hear frogs

 

hammering the silence.  In October, everyone’s name seems to be Mike.  You lay your hand

on my stomach, and inside’s a warm, still shadow.  Mike, we name the terrace

 

of overgrown willows.  Mike is the muted train tearing between the hills and the logy rise

of your diaphragm.  Mike is the way I feel and I feel and I feel here with you.

 

Sonnet for Betsy Seen Through Bracken Pond  

Most writers are dogs accosting any tree in the forest, you say.  If you’re anything,

I’d like to imagine you’re the gentle beast.

 

By March, you shoulder your manuscript like a skinned goat.  Mustard gas

sounds delicious, then deleterious.  Treetops teem with skylines.

 

On the way to Pasadena, another life is lost behind your aviators.  There’s

the isolation of each conifer.  Do you ever miss loneliness, Betsy?

 

I became a member at an art museum once just to meet a slim artist from Austin.

She scrawled Dantean father figures with a bic pen.  And after

 

the afterparty where no one made love to anyone, I felt beautiful and alone

walking home with my friends who felt equally alluring and aimless.

 

It would be simplistic now to spoil this, to say that this is art’s work

to allow us to love ourselves.   You’ve never loved ponds

 

sufficiently, Betsy.  You stare into them, and the trees

they’re slain ghosts.

 

Kyle McCord is the author of three books of poetry including Sympathy from the Devil from Gold Wake Press. He has work featured in Boston ReviewDenver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Third Coast, Verse and elsewhere.  He’s the co-founder of Lit Bridge and co-edits iO: A Journal of New American Poetry. He teaches at the University of North Texas. bio-kyle