Aught, no. 15 (2006)

K. Alma Peterson

Remains: A Mystery

                            the bodies languishing over the sky
Trailing their dark identities

— Charles Wright from "Night Journal"


   More than many nouns, the body begs to be described.

[entered: green Clairefontaine (trademark): series of 3"x5" bound notebooks,

in various colors, found in the upstairs (8'x11') bedroom of her home]


   Say "Brain," to mind wanders a reluctant tortoise, its intestines inside out,

[beside this entry a pencil drawing of same]

   "brain scan" by turns, its kaleidoscopic lower shell, under un-belly

[three illustrations (described below) perhaps cut from record jackets

and attached with double-stick tape; captioned, left to right, three words]



   [woman with small arrow through lower lip, third eye closed, brain dark]:

   I seldom entertain more than the thought of guests.


                     Euphoria [in orange wet-suit, wild grin, star-fish eye,

                     too thin] : My house, idea-lit, is a hard place to sleep;

                     harder yet to put together a decent meal, unless you're

                     the type to be content [as she was] with phrases,

                     plump as grapes, an occasional broccolian sentence.



                                                      [every Thursday's menu]


I forbid myself the Paragraph, a rich dessert [see "pear"and "pair"]


         Sine Qua Train[*]


         There is nothing like                   remaining. As if

         a 3am train                                       your dreamed the whistle

         in from not-your-time                  (not at all), the berth

         first of the end-stops                   car slowly rising

                                                       [*previously titled Test Case]


[words on the front-door wind chimes, covered with abandoned webs and

various dead insects] Happy Spiders Live Here



Take A Spin Laundry and Casino

One glance off-task and what used to square, spins. Here comes another fearful

statistic, nonchalant, whisper-quiet in toe-dyed sneaks, a decade early. Her chance

parlor & laundromat is such a holy mess: empty Rit boxes and pull-tabs, pop-tarts

and Pall Malls, warning labels, dead corsages. She replaces one rule with ten

exceptions (this is her job), and the rule is happier, disproved. In the color-fast lost,

she finds the even-numbered of every suit and renders them sleeveless. Great

numbers feel saved by their missing arms: nowhere to stash the trick. Trying not

to unravel, the heavily-soiled linens maintain their dignity while the numbers nose

around. It's best not to set your cycles by the activities of mere statistics. She

decides to take the advice of a ventriloquist and hire a muralist to paint her reality —

a collaborate deception.


Copyright 2006, by the author. All rights reserved.
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