MARK HAUNSCHILD.September 2017


Photo by Jeff Sirkin



You have broken more bread than I can keep from going to waste

We make a list of things you have forgotten how to say

You remember these words today     tempi all exempt / except tempest

not your lover’s name     not your mother’s or your nephews’ names     not

the name of the street on which you once lived when you were happy



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*** ** ***



Not the day nor the time of day matters to the asphalt

no plot     only chronology beside itself

running out     into cornfields and other distances


Though it is past noon by my eye     the geese continue to grind


Over and over and over again     Sisyphus returns

with his ball     I throw     he fetches


We go on like this     expecting

one day it will be different



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*** ** ***



We used to say     Pass me out      then held each other

hard and passed out     I listened to you

say my name     as if I had already won the prize



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*** ** ***



You practice     I ideate

I order your meanings on the side

You imagine the eyes of my other voices

while the satellites record all the birdsong

happening this very moment     We are

so our sentence fragments     I offer

you nothing for me in return



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*** ** ***



You asked how much

I figured your plans when I had seen the bolt

in the beam     in the middle of your room

the ceiling of which was just taller than you with your hands up


We walked dogs between this and that

through a themed street name neighborhood

where no one ever slept     trying to find our own ways out


Below the surface of asphalt something lingered

in which we once believed     there was a grammar of landscape

where we could live within peace without



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*** ** ***



Where you find Bermuda when you are looking for the ocean     you dig

a hole and find yourself in a field of scree on the underside of the world

In all the things I do unto you     I do with a length of cord and two knots

which you taught me how to tie     one for leveraging a load     another

for hanging the load     In your body     you have a place I cannot reach

with my fists or the instruments they hold     which I touch you with in

the afterwards     where you speak to me with a blue tongue     You deny

a thing its name by calling a thing     a loss     You see a group of flowers

and immediately know the weed by name     You lie down with the weed

pick its tips and try for the root     You     blind to other discoveries

will never know a thing by its coordinates     The map will swallow

everything whole     when the time comes to share your destination



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*** ** ***



It is difficult to ask for help     when you have

also     to ask how much it cost


There is always August     which then too was always awful

You call     I don’t answer

I was not there then     You are not here now


In my dreams you sing to me with your back turned


Cell phones with dead batteries

Half-eaten cold cuts

Unpaid parking tickets and half-drunk beers


The kinds of things one leaves behind

before sneaking out of the room



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*** ** ***



To be torn between a sentence and its enjambment

To be an and or but at the end of a sequence

Even you exist somewhere else broken     more than once



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*** ** ***



I sit in the thin shade of a tree trunk

whittling a stick to a point     then blunt the tip

I remember how you said it the last time you said it

I say it for the first time

again     That bird is blue     You said that is the poem

balancing one stone upon another stone

bending to the wind as if it could be resisted



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Mark HaunschildMark Haunschild
teaches writing at Arizona State University, where he serves as the faculty advisor of poetry for Superstition Review. His recent poetry appears in Elke “A Little Journal”, The Squaw Valley Review, Waxwing, Watershed Review, and The Drunken Boat. He is also a member of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Originally from Paradise, California, he currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona with his partner, their horse-sized dog, Odysseas, and a small flock of chickens.


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September 2017.MARK HAUNSCHILD

A dozen poets. One a month. Nothing more.