the poetry that matters

Louisa Storer

Louisa Storer studied poetics and art history at UC Davis and Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has previously appeared in Big City Lit and she was the recipient of the Joan Baldwin Fellowship at Sarah Lawrence. At the moment, she works as a young adult librarian at the New York Public Library. She lives in Long Island City, Queens.

To say   this:  one’s tendency towards the clinical will be missed
            is hard,   hard as   abalone shell   as hard  as an otter’s
wet  breastbone as hard as this afternoon’s sand smoothed  by tide
and composed from  only a  little  of each  and as brittle
as a basking turtle’s baked carapace.         If  one could just   see
this  collection  as  a   small admiralty  of     beloved objects
assembled  for  inspection  by   the captain   balancing
the world   upon  his  navigator’s wheel  all  while most
probably   not looking.               For  discretion’s sake, to  not see
is    not proof of one’s  rigor.   A  lion, too,   is  fierce when consumed
by the  minutiae  of the kill.
                                                It is not loneliness
which will reduce   a wild  beast  to a de-clawed show cat but
the big cat’s reluctance to board the ark.      It is reasonable,
that, the dread of  the matched pair     and solitary seasickness
until the sea—itself  unmatched and prone to the familiar
casualties of storm—calms into baby wave and baby wave
blanketing the equator. 
                                      What then after:  once    spilled  rook
takes   spilled   queen ?    Once the  doggerel  of   rank and file  devolves
into this:      the  panorama  of  a thing  gone placid  as glass
as seen from one’s  clear cabin  window.  
                                                                 Do not wait:      go south.
Let the globe be something to  encircle     like a spinning hoop.
Sonnet (7)
There  should  be   a   medal  for  each,   all  the  hobbled  and  flight-less:
the  rag-pickers,  the  mud-larks   skimming  the   banks  and  rivers
of     the  dead.   A    paper  anniversary  should     demand
no    more   than   a   pruned   hand’s   worth   of  ruined  silk,    gold   fillings    and  
abalone  splinters.    And   if   it  were  later    might   the  chandelier
buried  by   ship-wreck  almost   do  the   trick?     To   be   a   pirate
is  to   promise   ontology,      naming   one’s  treasure   ruth 
for  one’s  shrunken   grandmother   and    heaven  for    one’s
youngest      anxiety.      Brutality   can   be      glacial
like   that     like   a   thankful    jewel      unburdened  by   setting.
Really,   one’s   heart   is   wicked   like   that   coaxing   living    from
the   hinterland  between     airports.   Not   only     geese    but       the  fat  ones 
stupid   in their   allegiance  to land.     The   ones   at   night  speaking
of  catastrophe   and  cardboard  gone  soggy   in   the   sanctuary.
Sonnet  (5)
Suppose a   flock of diamonds   were not   as   happy  as   suspected.
As   a   bloody   spear  shot   somewhere   from   the   darkness       the  third  wall
collapsed           and       audience   convinced   stage    to   believe  that  fire
was    indeed   a  misery   meant  to   refute       any    redemptive
theory   of   the  gods.       That  is   the    meaning   of   to   go  without  sleep.
When  a    name  assumes  the mischief   of     the    incantatory and   one’s
otherwise  tasteful   fingers   sparkle   with   witchery.     Sorcery 
speaks   delightfully   in   such  circumstances.       The   hum   of   the     mother
busy    in    one’s   breath   as    one   dismantles  home   in   pursuit  of    contraband.
The   bags   of  kittens      arranged  by   color:   tabbies  divided   from
marmalades  and     tortoiseshells.     Babies     upon   babies  all     a-splash
in   their   baby  bathtubs.           Until   the   diabolical  mewling
and   babble  stops   as   blocked  (on    a   dime)  as   a    rune   ceases  to  spell
doom   in   spilt  salt   upon  the  kitchen  floor  and  the  baby  is   put   to bed.
No,   what   really begs    consideration   when  while:    late sun   cuts   buildings  like  talc
and the  metal   power  plant  looks   to solder  hot   and   orange  as   pipe  as   a    reckoning,
is   the   pull  of babies.       Not   their   gravity   per   se    as   they    distill   in   puddles
of   gas   and  water   in    a   webbing   we   limit as   solar  system.             Not  their   bodies:
the   allure   of  dreadfully   pink surfaces    and  nub toes    collectible
as  moon   rocks.                      
                             In   all   work,   there   is   a   point   rather   than   a  range  when  medium  will  fail.
When   an   alloy     common  as  adaptation   and   inessential   as  blood    shudders
 into    birth.   It   is   almost   laughable:  the    wars  invented     into  wars   for that.
In  one  corner,  the  winged   and  in  the  other   the  foolhardy.               Jewelry   and
bomb-making   are   no   different.   There    is   always   a   flash   like   foil   catching  light
before   reaction   swells in   duty  like   the   plague   and   the   flora    and   fauna   like   bull kelp
and    killer  barracuda    must   decide   on    the spot     under  water     in   rook
whether   to   merely       sprout  tentacles    or die.             The   babies are like that:   all   need
at   dusk:    little  weathervanes   dressed    up   in  copper   as   nanny  goats   and   cockerels
and    humpback   whales,   little   litmus   tests   humming     to    the  old   man  eggplant   river,    
tickertape    parades      with conquering   hearts     deciding  if   survival   is   worth   the   paper.



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