Joanna Fuhrman


Poem with Missing Line

Did you mean to wake up with your nerves
dangling like sneakers from suburban trees?

Have you ever walked inside a mattress and found
a queen-sized bed frame inside? Do you enjoy igniting

brick houses with your eyebrows? Do you recognize
the kind of silence where everyone looks naked

even when they are wearing a floor length
coverup or a burkini? Have you ever shaken hands

with the bodhisattva of bitterness? Did his hand
feel like the skin of a pomegranate? Or its seeds?

Are you able to eat these days? Are you able
to stop eating? If we sing the Star-Spangled Banner

backwards while watching the Warriors, does
Coney Island become our new national capital?

Did you mean to punch me in the smoked kipper?
The wardrobe? The nightingale? Do you prefer kale chips

or woodchippers? Is your ceramic frog floatable?
How many more punches until we can untether

the fireflies? Do you enjoy the way I dangle
my earlobe in your microwaved Bolognese?

If so, when will you start loving me with a little
less than 1000 percent of that wound?

In the Matrix Starring Nicolas Cage

Neo is a piss-ass drunk, and it doesn’t matter if alcohol is only an idea. Meaning detaches from language and flies in slow motion like a shampoo commercial. The absent women shift behind the curtains, a mother’s face camouflaged by a William Morris floral, a sister’s breath hidden by the smell of an off-season fireplace. The 21st century is riding a bloodshot Ferrari into the mouth of climate change, and it needs pure vodka to make it okay. Nic is naked all the time. Even naked, he sweats through his clothes. Even when he’s fully dressed his dick swings unsheathed. You try lassoing the sky’s panopticon with only a goddamned body part. He knows the world isn’t real, so why not just buy a big-ass blowup doll? Why not just wear your rubber Donald Trump mask to crowded theatre and flail your octopi limbs at the screen?


Joanna Fuhrman is the author of five books of poetry, including The Year of Yellow Butterflies (Hanging Loose Press, 2015) and Pageant (Alice James Books, 2009). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including The Believer, Conduit, Fence, New American Writing, and Volt as well as in various anthologies, including The Pushcart Prize 2011 and 365 Poems for Every Occasion (Abrams, 2015). Her poetry videos appear in Requited Journal, Fence Digital, Triquarterly and Moving Poems and are forthcoming in Atticus Review and Battery Journal.