Kristin Abraham

A Natural History of Wife-Shaped Faces

Remove from girl all unruly.

Acquaint her with silversnips,
trims, sharpslant tweezes.

Your fiction itself becomes

Remove girl from her six-fingered
flaws, the acid gut-flutter she tries
to name happily. As in ever. As
in after.

Remove girl from her candid
mouth, her candied lips.

But I am heedless, talking dirty
to you like you are the moon.

Remove from girl all plosive
syllables, all vocatives.

Remove from girl pickled
vestigials, jarred-up loves with
identifiable outcomes.

Or like you’re the moon’s downy
hide flayed, its apologetic everything.

Remove girl from so long before
she finds the breath to say it.

Remove girl from the tear-free pinks,
patches of calamine, baby shampoo
and sparkly thin-coat veneers.

I am talking at the heart hissing
away inside you.

Remove from girl all those fight-or-

Remove girl from catgut-strung
cavities, her quivering honest.

I talk at sealing it all up.

Remove from girl the hard to
the tease and strumpet.

I talk at reliquary.

Acquaint her with finelining,

I talk and let it scab.

Diode Logic

Tonight another lost list, loss:


I had two open hearts.


(No matter—still our singular heart

with our uniderectional blood,

that other heart useless,

mostly forgotten.)


Tonight, hog-thick tension /

our rectified conduction.


Sometimes all you have
is landscape.


(What we have: Transplant:

Landscape I-80, one way, all the way:

Traffic valve / bypass

“Factory blowout” / Billboard


Flea market / SWAP-Meet /America:


Pull-chain floor lamps,

Pet potbellied pigs and



Red-checked table cloths,

Broken brass blade oscillating fans,

Philco radios.


Something out, nothing in.

Interstate happenstance.)


That’s us in a nut shell,
us in a nerve cell.


(You / I—

charge carriers—


our just one highway / unilateral

synaptic junctions.)


My self-loathing, an acute degree—


Our derivative violence—

Parallel energies, distant, just so—

minor sparks leap—


I loved you more when there was
a reason to love you.


Gone soft as brain / significant,

when this diode betrays,

we let it.


I loved you more
when there was a reason
to lose you.


Cathode / Anode.

So we understand check-valve,
our mutual one-way:

So we do not recognize
our surrogate intimacies:

brief moment in the synapse
when we witness together,
then spark motions,
one-way syncopation,
one on, one off.




We are not
in the lamp repair business.


We are fumbling hands,
we are not cardiologists.


It was daisies for love,
though, and we did that, too.


Would not be gentled.


You’re too nervous
for the lamp business,
you make me nervous.


Like establishing the identity
of ice.)


Our thrift makes
nothing connect /nerve tract.


(What conflict—


Avalanche diode /Reverse,
asynchronous. We are not




Then “rectifier” became
“diode,”from the Greek:
through /path.




When it’s like
some kind of parade
for us—
our wreck.


Our procession then:


(What we know of
electric is obvious,
of surgery


and nothing—

we know—


How to make self-picnic,

complete with one
angry bear.


Our faces landscape / not
slices of bread—)


After, we watch
some road unroll
behind this car:
tongue, current,
again. Again.


How to define that disposition
in the rearview mirror.


(Universal sequence—

should be universal—



What axon I have become:


and non.


We’ll take the next bypass.


When I can’t possibly—
When I do possibly—


Kristin Abraham is the author of The Disappearing Cowboy Trick (Horse Less Press, 2013) and two chapbooks: Little Red Riding Hood Missed the Bus (Subito Press, 2008) and Orange Reminds You of Listening (Elixir Press, 2006). Her poetry and lyric essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Best New Poets 2005, Columbia Poetry Review, LIT, and American Letters & Commentary. She teaches at a community college in Wyoming, and lives in Colorado, where she serves as editor-in-chief and poetry editor of the literary magazine Spittoon.

Editors’ Notes (Posit 4)


Welcome to Posit 4!

We are delighted to bring you the poetry in this new issue, which assembles a range of poetic approaches to the deployment of razor-sharp vision reflecting our selves and our world(s) with unnerving power and ineffable magic. As always, the work in this issue comes from poets at all stages of their careers and a variety of aesthetic and geographical milieus. We hope you enjoy:

Kristin Abraham’s elliptical yet potent lyric investigations into the violently carved ‘wife-shaped face’ of American femininity as well as the asymmetrical “hog-thick tension” and “derivative violence” of our diode-logical relationships;

Simeon Berry’s wryly wrought encounters of Nix, a “biped without a face,” with the “negative/cathedral[s]” of our final inevitable “unreal estate,” nimbly transmogrifying sound puns to meaning puns with wit and grace;

Dana Curtis’s hallucinogenic psycho-documentaries with their “known lights . . . spiraling out . . . into [a] fog shrouded museum;”

Raymond Farr’s wonderfully threatening contemporary mythology, replete with Delphic Oracle;

Derek Graf’s ‘forest’ of prose blocs in which the silent and the voiced intertwine to re-imagine tropes as rich and strange as “the cold equations of hills and the cloven vandal of the moon;”

Carolyn Guinzio’s unsettling gaze reflecting our world in the hypnotic spin of a snake’s eye and complicating meaning via a counterpoint of interwoven narratives emitting implications of incantatory resonance;

Tim Kahl’s blunt and surprising vision, inviting us in from the numb comfort of our societal “avoid room” and guiding us “into position to receive the new settings from the old intelligence;”

Drew Kalbach’s “polycarbonate enhanced/enriched plastic” urban techno narratives, gleaming like “pure chemical reactions where no chemicals are found and nobody takes a picture to prove it;”

Jared Schickling’s mad constructions, “an epicurean trip thru quantum entanglement” conjuring up verbal parallels to the work of Jackson Pollock;

Marius Surleac’s collisions of punk rock with bucolic pastoralism, making us “lose our minds smoking pot made of sharp corn blades;”

Lewis Warsh’s deceptively relaxed and conversational lines snaking from the daily to the universal, the evident to the profound, with lingering resonance and masterful grace;

and Karen Zhou’s deft and haunting constructions, weaving us into her magical world of “nebular wild white,” “tattooed tulips” and “the impossibility of brûléed snow.”

As ever, thank you for reading!

Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann


And welcome to the visual art in Posit 4!

ShinYeon Moon’s work explores the masks that people wear and the people beneath those masks — who we appear to be, and who we fear we are. Deeply psychological, Moon draws the inspiration for these haunting works from poetry, mythology, and her own life.

Gina Pearlin’s paintings are like bits of half-remembered dreams of a bygone era in an unnamed country. Despite their dreamlike quality, there’s a solidity about these pieces that plants them firmly in time and space. At once surreal and concrete, her vision reveals a world that is grim yet strangely beautiful, asking questions only the viewer can answer.

James Rauchman’s paintings draw us into a world of organic shape and form. Densely packed, the canvases often seem poised to burst open. They pulse with a life of their own, like biological specimens under a magnifying glass. At the same time, Rauchman is addressing formal ideas of figure and ground. The paintings dance back and forth between foreground and background, creating a lyrical tension which addresses central questions in contemporary painting.

With a wry sense of humor, Kevin Snipe’s work documents urban life and relationships between men and women. He uses the physicality of ceramics to work around, in, under, and through the visual narratives. These sculptures operate on both two and three dimensions, the visual narrative of the drawings reinforced by the sculpted forms. Snippets of dialogue float through these pieces, like conversations overheard on a subway.

And Laura Sharp Wilson’s work assembles forms that hark from many realms: under the sea, under a microscope, and in the sky. They appear as both decorative and highly structured scientific portraits of an alternative universe. Using vivid and beautiful color palettes combined with precise drawing, these paintings suggest multiple possibilities stemming from the natural and scientific worlds.


Melissa Stern