“Return No. 2” by Laurel Milburn

02 February 2018 on Blog, Poetry   Tags: ,

We step outside an axis
where the magnets scrape to a
dry thinning spark. Things to do:
Things to do to turn a nocturne
to a waltz. Today is red.
A fine stretch of all our
secret madness shouting about
the infinite the length of pi.
Coda. Break. We won’t repeat
this, but we do:
we feel like kissing—
Stomach turns to bubbles
acid, unoxidized like stones.
A hungry bird can shriek
the loudest being hollow. A
blood clot closes up the loop
downtown. In the chaos, we think
we are a pixel, a pigment, and we
look closer and closer toward
our hearty cords until we hear
a fleshy echo: to, to.
Two wolves become a falcon’s wings
become a shell become the net
behind our eyes. See the man of science
teach anatomy. However painful the object,
he feels this knowledge is pleasure,
and where there is no pleasure,
he has no knowledge.
A poem’s arrhythmia e-
rupts because it is in pain.
We give more speed
to push the trauma
quickly as a mist around
our ankles where we walk—
gate to gate tucking ugly phrases
between our toes so no one
will know their weakness as an ease.


Laurel Milburn holds her BA in English and Spanish from Florida Southern College and her MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. Her work has recently appeared in The Ilanot Review, Birds Piled Loosely, Right Hand Pointing, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

Watercolor painting by Tony Whedon. He is the author of "A Language Dark Enough: Essays on Exile" from Mid-List Press and "Drunk in the Woods," a nonfiction collection forthcoming from Green Writers Press. He’s published four poetry collections. His poetry, critical essays, and creative nonfiction have appeared in Agni, American Poetry Review, Harpers, Salmagundi, Shenandoah, ThreePenny Review, among other publications. His website is https://www.tonywhedon.com/.

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