Becka Mara McKay

The Secretary of the Apocrypha Admits to
Another Error in Judgment


He knocks on the door before the sun
is fully robed and says coffee, both noun

and verb, transitive and otherwise. I say
lie down. Commands in my language

take on shades of the aurora borealis
but more domestic, like gasoline puddles

beneath an overturned sky. We do not touch,
not even as the bed grows smaller

and our sorrow sags, an awning under the weight
of a failed suicide. We do not touch

and we do not sleep and we drink a second
cup and I say don’t go, don’t go. Sleep.


My camera has too many functions. Food
is not related to light,
he says,

as if eating exists in a dimension
shared only by the sightless. I explain

a metaphor (in English): My heart is
a dropped bottle. See it—the splinters, the mess?

He says, I see. He says, The man who leaped
from the roof could not grow wings fast enough.


You cannot smell the moon, he says, and seals
his hand over my face. But everything

that followed was not dangerous, just damp
and angry. You cannot smell the moon,

no matter how many forms of fruit it wants
to resemble. The smell of the moon is God.

The inerasable space between bodies
is God, and the place where you had more teeth.

This is not to call God absent. God, too,
seals a hand over my face. God leaves unlatched

the shore of sleep. The rest is a lake we must shape
into waves, rocking ourselves awake.

The Secretary of the Apocrypha Finds a Real Job

Love God, says the skywriter, praising
the rain’s absence, and praising his small aircraft

slinging smoke into the indigo. Jesus Saves,
says the skywriter, but with more force,

as if size were faith and not the other way
around. JESUS SAVES is what his motor pronounces:

a shout, an exuberant vibration. Nobody
glancing in his direction expects miracles.

As if mocking the parts of me still in bed
(unlike the parts that wandered through

the kitchen) a dove pursued a jay all morning
in the banyan’s upper chambers. This paper doesn’t need

breaking in, like new shoes, or new horses
who sweat into lather under the lunge

line. Horses learn by circling, which seems strange.
I have watered the garden and swept

the deck. GOD IS LOVE, proclaims the skywriter,
who knows he controls everything and nothing

about his life. I wouldn’t request your appearance
if appearance was the only thing I believed in.

Becka Mara McKay directs the MFA in Creative Writing at Florida Atlantic University. Publications include a book of poetry, A Meteorologist in the Promised Land (Shearsman, 2010), as well as several translations of Israeli fiction and poetry. She has work appearing in recent or forthcoming issues of Meridian, Cream City Review, Colorado Review, Isthmus, and Salamander. Her chapbook of prose poems, Happiness Is the New Bedtime, was just published by Slash Pine Press.

Editor’s Notes (Posit 10)

Welcome to summer, and with it, to our 10th issue!

While not what is most often referred to as “summer reading,” this issue’s poetry and prose is energetic, surprising, pleasurable, and above all, various. From Martine Bellen’s Delphic utterances to James Capozzi’s lush expansiveness; from Joe Pan’s virtuosic fecundity to the compressed insightfulness of Alec Hershman, Call Freeman, and Becka Mara McKay, the work aggregated in these pages gives rise to its own poetic chiarascuro, an emphatic energy of contrasts fed as well by the moving micro-fiction of Anthony Schneider, Randee Silv’s suggestive “wordslabs,” an excerpt from a new collaboration by Thomas Cook and Tyler Flynn Dorholt, and the accomplished poetics of TJ Beitelman, Brett Salsbury, and Patrick Williams. So here’s to the delights of summer, and of Posit 10:

T.J. Beitelman’s probings of the intersection of truth and creation, vanity and desire, futility and hope, exploring “the real imagined” and the “imagined real” in which “none of this is holy. This is only art”;

Martine Bellen’s spare and exquisite excerpt from , inspired by Brazilian jujitsu, invoking “the efficacious arc of hatching” the insight that “delusions are inexhaustible”;

the expansive richness of James Capozzi’s verses, grappling with the psychic implications of “film that is a litany of artifacts ragged behind the rest of our evolution” as well as the elusive notion of “our majesty” which “blows the petals that form us” whether it resides in “maps of the coast the length of the coast” or “the life and the sub-life”;

Thomas Cook’s and Tyler Flynn Dorholt’s masterful collaborative meditation on time, identity, and language, which “keep[s] breaking perfectly with commas into slight unknowns” in order to remind us that “no matter what, what is always the thing mattering,” which “is not news nor is news not us”;

Cal Freeman’s sure-footed gems of energy, imagination, and insight, in which, as the author tells “The Innocent” in the epistle addressed to her, “grace is the shape of light that isn’t cast”;

the range yet compression of Alec Hershman’s lyrics, which convey meditative melancholy, wry humor, and philosophical rumination by tapping a well of surprise in which “the megaphone’s a dunce-cap; the helicopter lands with a limp”;

Becka Mara McKay’s lyrical yet gently wry investigations of relationship and faith, in which the “heart is/a dropped bottle,” “sorrow sags,” and “God leaves unlatched//the shore of sleep”;

Joe Pan’s virtuosically individuated monologues on one love which is wistfully “awash in what [she] cannot keep/or keep private,” while another struggles with her own “humble fidelity to [her] infidel’s lovely bits & bargaining chips” such as the beloved’s “ol’ stigmata’d-mouth-by-unforgiving-knuckles exploitation show”;

The wry melancholy and deadpan humor of Brett Salsbury’s pitch-perfect timing, reminding us “how your dreams rearrange the day” until “eventually gravity takes its whole toll”;

Anthony Schneider’s poignant fiction about personal constriction as coping mechanism and abuse, ringing with the potency of what is left unsaid;

Randee Silv’s ‘wordslabs’ constructed from resonant declaratives colliding productively like “circuits of cascading autumn clouds,” their “inward attentions inexhaustible”;

and Patrick Williams’ elegies to memory and mortality, in which “the lake is dead as a dream” although “we are too unfixed” and “someone is calling, but really/who picks up the phone anymore?”

Thank you for reading!

Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann


And welcome to the visual art of Posit 10!

Alex Bunn’s photographs bedazzle and confound the viewer. Through his meticulous studio arrangements he creates temporary universes that leave us wondering at exactly what we are looking at. They are both delicious and decidedly creepy at the same time.

In Cynthia Carlson’s recent body of paintings, “Beyond the Rectangle,” we see a group of rigorously constructed, geometric compositions. Each painting is made of up many smaller canvases, combining to make compositions that inhabit the walls with architectural presence. The paintings are deeply and lushly painted: Carlson uses color to both harmonize and connect the compositions. Like jazz, they are syncopated and alive with energy.

Mary DeVincentis presents us with a world where darkness, both physical and psychological, is ever present. Beneath the cheerful colors and vigorous brushwork we see hints of the troubled life inside.

Carl Heyward creates mixed media works that are elegant and lyrical. With graceful gesture he mixes found and fabricated imagery to suggest visual short stories. Each work provides us with a bit of the narrative, leaving it up to the viewer to complete the story.

And Matt Nolen’s ceramic sculptures are richly layered with color, texture and meaning. Like surrealist narratives, they lead us along a dreamlike path where all interpretations are the rights ones.


Melissa Stern