Brett Salsbury


        There’s something wrong here. The poor have always had children without privacy: I’m privileged. I don’t remember the lessons I was taught and now I try to unlearn them. I can’t remember. Never drink water straight from the tap.
        It hurts when you are unkind. My gut tells me things. By listening to one’s chakra we lay our ears to the ground, and to the ether most white people cannot access. Pay heed, to dear ley lines: we are all closer than we realize.

        Instinct must not be confused with what is social.
        Chatter at birds.
        Arise the goose bumps and arm-hair.
        Let the machine sense its phase in the drying cycle.
        Say “ow” before actually getting hurt.
        Stare into his eyes and feel warm.
        Stare into his eyes and be deceived.

Recapitulation and Conclusion

        One tells another who tells five more. Myth travels at a different speed. You find it in line at the 7/11 as you pay for your morning coffee. It’s gossip               and fact, how your dreams rearrange the day.
        If you believe in how you water Sempervivum you believe in the blood that leys in the ground. We all share it. To remember gossip is to remember the flexibility of giving.
        If only we’d trash the versions of our textbooks and revert again to all of our myths. Story is the reason                our Gods become kind. The woods out back are a lesson in living. A bee-sting is a rumor that we’re doing it all wrong.
        Eventually gravity                takes its whole toll and then we’re returned to the moment we’re conceived. It changed me. This poem wouldn’t be here if they’d stayed at work an extra hour.
        —and to create a bench we need all the materials: wood; saw; measurements; hope; and a myth that sitting adds an extra bit of comfort                  and how it gives us more time.
        In your previous murder you hummed a song in your head. The song you sang was stolen—shared with you, but taken with their lives. You read               that talking was the cure for hate—that exchanging with others would fix the broken system. But the fire brews               and your marshmallows burn. You are still                  using the same old tongue.
        I made a whole book                and I should have just stopped talking. I should have unlearned                all the tools I used to write it.

Terrapene ornata ornata
or, Ornate box turtle

I never see you around here. When I came home from prom
the year before last, everyone woke to the sound of my foot-
prints. The creak in the boards was never fixed, my closet
the only soundless place, the raspberries devoured
from the fridge like my nightmares.

In fact, I’ve never seen you in the wild before. The abstract
landing caressing the backyard is filled with pieces of what
could be your shell. I’m sorry for the mess. There are 20
dollars in this roll of bank quarters. What else do we need?

Right now we only have croutons for the salad.

In a few million years, perhaps we’ll have mountains.

Brett Salsbury is a goat. Originally from Kansas, he now roams the neon-lit lands of the Las Vegas Valley. Along with writing, he regularly conducts tours of a retired casino sign collection. His work has appeared in Words Dance Publishing, Foothill, Fourculture, GTK Creative, and The Odd Magazine. He does bleat when he gets excited.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.