B.K. Fischer

Steingraft

The wound in the decision.
I have hurt you and you are

as blue as every bit of blue
is precocious. Exhibit A:

a seal and matches and swan
and ivy and a suit. I am guilty

as charged: star glide, a single
frantic sullenness, a financial

grass greediness. What’s the use
of violent kinds of delightfulness

if there’s no pleasure in not getting
tired of it? Don’t answer, I know

what you are going to say: lilies
are lily white and they exhaust

noise and distance and even dust.
Yes, water astonishing and difficult

altogether makes meadows stroke.
Yes, red weakens an hour. Little

called anything shows shudders.
Exhibit B: elegant use of foliage

and grace and a piece of white
cloth and oil. Exhibit C: not hull

house, not pea soup, no bill no
care, no precise pearl past pearl

goat. What was the use of whole
time to send or not send if there

was to be the kind of thing that
made that come in? That sorrow,

that is. That sorrow that came
in. I don’t have to tell you this.

The sudden spool is the wound
in the decision. Full stop.

Sapphograft

Believe me, I prayed that night
might be doubled for us. (Thin

flame under my skin.) We know
this much—this parting must be

endured, though I go unwillingly.
Use your soft hands to tear off

dill shoots. Apple branch, wild
hyacinth, greenwood, clover,

thyme. I have a small daughter.
A quince-apple. A girl track star.

Last night I dreamed that we
had words. You know the place,

sacred precincts. We quarreled
about my two minds, my child-

like heart. Desire darts, drawn
in circling flight—Andromeda.

Frankly I wish I were dead. Day
in, day out, I hunger and struggle.

Don’t, I beg you. Use your soft
hands to tear off dill, crocus.

Remember (you know well)
whom you leave shackled

by love. The night is half gone;
youth goes; I am in bed alone.

Televoracle

Breaking news. This is KVVU Fox-5
reporting live from the Hoover Dam
as ten thousand gather tonight, a tractor-
trailer overturned near the Paradise overpass,
and four women were found in a Henderson
basement, captive in a kitchenette with six
children. Rubber-necking delays inbound.
Police found the girl cowering in a corner
on a cherry four-poster, carved balusters
stretched with a yak’s hide: Voilà, the bed

is a drum. Go on, beat it with a bobbystick
for those bearded beauties, 5-o-clock shadows
found in good health—a riot in the thalamus,
a fair in les ovaires, a nailhead that asks you
to name it then smack it with a hammer,
dammit. Client, rustico, jet-setter, John.

Does she rest her cheek on leather or
pleather? Is the hide of an animal cool?
Her fingers find their way into the button-
tufted dimples in the seat, the way a child
kicks her shoes off under the couch. All girls
want to put a few extra holes in themselves.
To hang stuff off. Her peach-fuzz cheek,
her wispy bangs, and oh, that elegant foot—
second toe longer than the first, petite girl
for a size-9 shoe. She grew up near a reactor.

Did I mention her impeccable dress—abacus
of blossoms, popcorn strings, errata—the nap
goes only one way, the same way as her zipper-
toothed mind, polish chipping off indigo toes.
Do you see how well lit she is? She is under
a warming lamp. What leads you to believe
her hands are bound, that she didn’t just slump
that way? She’s a moody recruit. She is off
the shoulder. She is, by definition, a daughter.
What happened to her little friend? Look
closer: each tufted button is a long-lashed
eye. Lashed to a post. The lashed laugh
of the luxury guest—deluxe, high roller,
priority, preferred, elite, concierge, club.
You are on the list. You are on the rainbow-
mushroom-paisley carpet with a soundproof
asbestos under-foam. Neighborhood watch:

three youth charged with criminal mischief.
Look around—statutory, statutory, statuary.
Men made these beds. Women lie on them,
and about them. True false true false true
false true: she’s been crying for an hour
and the hour is getting threadbare, so we
may as well make some music: mirage, pulse,
pulse, adieu. Mirage, pulse, pulse, adieu.

Are you alright? Did you cut yourself?
Do you want me to get somebody?
Hold pressure. Hold for the next available.
Stand by for World News—I’m your chorus,
your orchid-rhymes-with-orange oracle, your
stiletto Geppetto pancetta vendetta latte
hottie reporting live from the mall:

I’m televoracious, televivacious—
your Heat Miser hand sanitizer, in-
patient, outpatient, up-patient, down-
patient dumbwaiter down the hatch.
It’s a harp, and I’ll harp on it. A bed
is a drum is a loom is a bed is a drum
is a loom is a bed. Back to you, Bob.

Artist’s Statement

Channeling and transcribing the “Televoracle” took place at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, New York, in November 2013, in the presence of three large-scale works of art visible from a single vantage: Chen Zhen’s Vibratoire (1997, bedsteads with yak skin and rope), Antonio Santin’s Yeh (1978, oil on canvas), and Jeff Wall’s Rear, 304 E. 25th Ave, May 20, 1:14 and 1:17 pm (1997, black and white photograph with inset).

B. K. Fischer is the author of two poetry collections, Mutiny Gallery, winner of the 2011 T. S. Eliot Prize from Truman State, and St. Rage’s Vault, which received the 2012 Washington Prize from The Word Works. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, FIELD, Literary Mama, WSQ, The Hopkins Review, Crab Orchard Review, Ninth Letter, Southwest Review, and other journals. Also the author of a critical study, Museum Mediations: Reframing Ekphrasis in Contemporary American Poetry (Routledge, 2006), she was a finalist for the 2014 Balakian Citation in Reviewing from the National Books Critics Circle. She teaches at Columbia University and the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, and is a poetry editor at Boston Review.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of eight books and chapbooks, including This Visit (Blazevox, 2015), How to be Another (Cervena Barva Press, 2014), and State of the Union (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014). Her ninth book, Heisenberg’s Salon, is available now for pre-order from Blazevox. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, and Verse Daily.