Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-x

I

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pp. 1-2

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Thighs of Nymphs

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pp. 3-8

MAGNOLIA, AMBROSIO, VALANCE stand still as three pillars. Among the ruins of the Roman Empire. Cows gathering like daffodils. They have been behaving well. With their collars up. They stand like authentic marble blocks.
They learn how to build good relationships with math. To respect their neighbors’ space. Their neighbors will remark that they have been frying salmon with salt in their apartment. They will complain that the three pillars have stunk up their cardigans...

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Doing an Eva Hesse on a Man

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pp. 9-12

SHE HAS BEEN ON THE PHONE over an hour thinking about the sound of the shower running. She thinks that it is raining on the other side of the wall or rather on the other side of the line. But nothing that interesting ever happens to her during a tedious conversation, and certainly not during a conversation about a rebate on a phone she has recently purchased. She keeps on telling herself that another minute, just another and another and another and then fifty doors, no fifty dollars, will be sent to...

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I Love You Me Neither

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pp. 13-16

I HAVE JUST RUSHED IN from the exact zero degrees outside shuffling snow. The snow sparkled and shimmered like a white lake. It was a gorgeous evening to be outside. And cold! I like the raw air of December (not really for its extreme bleakness) that cuts through my skin like a dream through the spirit, and I love the way I can’t feel my toes. They are like a glob of cold clay. Sometimes I feel them so alienated from the rest of my body that it seems as if they could talk to me like another friend....

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The Bald Sparrow

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pp. 17-26

USING ONLY ONE HAND, the professor cradles his penis like a fat old man carrying a sparrow up a mountain. His oversized oxford shirt drapes his thighs. He holds his penis gently but firmly, without suffocating it, while he talks to his student about her latest story, in which she wrote about a confused daughter who accidentally suffocates her mother to death in New Guinea. There is a desk between the professor and the student, blocking her from seeing what the professor is doing with his left hand....

II

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pp. 27-28

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Suicide Bomber

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pp. 29-30

ROWING A TINY BOAT, I THOUGHT I could reach the hem of the horizon. Rowing under it would not be a dream come true. Rowing along the side of the hem is not cream nor nightmare nor October. When it loses its breath to a stem dying on its own pithy soil. What it is like to see oil while you are rowing your boat, where the sun matters most as it spills God’s miscarriage or adultery. You skin your rug because it has come from an (animal fainting) fainting animal + you skin your ironing board because...

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A Child’s Face Has Been Pickpocketed by Terrorists

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pp. 31-32

THE TRAIN FRONT AND BACK. To push Syrian children through the threshold of weaponized cyanide. Soporific-shaped children line forever on tiles in eastern Ghouta and the moaning comes from a small hut in a British bush by a woman spreading wide for a man and later wider for a woman. There are times like this where a nonexistent page whispers to another page: at the corridor of your dildo, my cunt turns around in reluctance and walks quietly into a field of pubic hair and a field of amputated...

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A Blanket of Sarcophagi

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pp. 33-34

BERLIN AND I HAVE HAD TO INHALE the desert whose arms and legs lengthen as we walk. We have not been walking long, and dry sand leaks from the bottoms of our feet while the air surrounds us like confessional knives. Behind or above us, Jerusalem or America. Not long ago, and then, my lungs, Berlin said, are heavy with dark fluids and I don’t know if I have the energy to cross the sea of sand with you, Mansion. And I think it’s dark, this bed full of waterless air that blooms while Berlin’s...

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In a Sexual Slang

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pp. 35-36

THIS MORNING I WOKE UP with a bladder full of magnets and petroleum. Parts of me are magnetized to heliotrope, which refers to heliotropium, and made me think of floral petroleum. The other parts of me are craving an extremely sanitized asshole and a microphone. Centuries ago, the ancients wouldn’t have guessed that the human asshole can be used as a hydrocarbon pipeline. This, and getting blown up from the inside and becoming a half-mourning periorbital flower, not from war, but from peace....

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My Wife’s Ears and Nose

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pp. 37-40

THE HOURS OF DISBELIEF rush me to hold myself at the center. I have been holding myself together. These long months. These ridiculous, silly years. There are times like this when cutting my wife’s ears and nose wasn’t enough. She kept on dishonoring me in ridiculously silly ways, dishonoring my manhood, dishonoring my family, and my mother won’t stop complaining about her. She would return anyway and of course, you know how silly it is for a wife to leave her husband. And my penis...

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The Room Is Bare

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pp. 41-42

THE ROOM IS BARE. A chair in one corner, dark. I see the particles in the air as I stomp back and forth, my callous, beefy hands behind my back. The day is crisp and I expect nothing more than to calculate my method. Be instrumental in my performance. I must be exact like an X-ACTO. No false step. No false step. Everything is in order. I study the room. A pile of shards shoulder their fragments against the foot of the chair. The room is flaking and smells green like algae. The shirtless man-boy has been...

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The Earth Needs a Little Mouth

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pp. 43-46

I EYE HER FROM THE CORNER, my little girl. I eye her a little each day, giving myself another look, another eye. I get these ridiculous spells that make me think too clearly. I pinch my fingers together, squeezing the tobacco inside the pouch before shuffling it into my mouth. I sit here and I just sweat. I get so bored staring at my girl. At the dumb field. Just dumb. I get so angry I don’t even understand why. Her hair is a mess, messier than it should look. I could pour a bucket of dirt on her and she...

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A Brief Alphabet of Torture

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pp. 47-50

A) CARVE OUT FIVE CIRCLES from the base of bare feet. Then insert five wine corks into these carved out ovoids. Ask the victim to walk like a geisha, one hand holding an orchid fan, the other hand brushing her lacquered hair back.
B) Fasten the forehead and chin with clamps. Use two eyelash openers to crack the sufferer’s eyes wide open. Pour hot boiling water onto the eyes....

III

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pp. 51-52

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The Myth of Dara Chromosome

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pp. 53-54

WHEN DUSK DESCENDS the charred topography, Dara has made it out of the countryside. She asks Timothy to wait in the courtyard for her. The gibbous moon makes a comma in the blue sentence of the sky while he walks gradually away from her, each step an adverb, deliberate. In a field of sunflowers, she removes her prosthetic limb, carries it up to her mouth, and blows vowels into its interior pipe. She calls to him, “Timothy!...

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Arrangements

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pp. 55-58

1.HOWEVER STRANGE HER PENIS may look in the mirror, she has become accustomed to it. Like a guest that comes to her house first, uninvited, and second, unexpected. She thinks tea is a good idea. Serving tea with her protruding penis pressed to the glass of the stove. The penis hangs on her body like a dog’s tongue hanging out of its mouth. At any moment, it might withdraw inside. But the guest doesn’t have a cave to retreat and tea will be served very soon....

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The Watermelon Body

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pp. 59-66

THE MAN WAS NOT A WATERMELON, but the woman wasn’t interested in his watermelon-less body. She insisted that he was a watermelon. She wanted him to be a watermelon. She wanted badly for him to be a watermelon. The more he thought about it, about desiring her and fulfilling her dream, the more he wished that he could reshape his body into a watermelon. He knew he didn’t look anything like a watermelon. Unlike a watermelon, his exterior surface was pale and light and yellow....

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Sexual Dogs

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pp. 67-74

SHE WAS A WOMAN who had acquired great wealth through hard work, though the public believed her prosperity came from inheritance. She did not suffer from childhood abuse and she was not one to endure emotional suffering due to negligence. In fact, as a child she had been very well loved, maybe even overly pampered, undoubtedly. She led a private life composed of disciplinary, solitary rituals. After a long day at work facing the skyscraper, she returned to her mansion with its view...

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The House of Utensils

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pp. 75-80

TO ACQUIRE AND INQUIRE about the spatula, the man tells her to turn left at the three ovens near the mulberry tree and to turn north of the refrigerator. She is to meet the couple named Earl and his wife, Orpha. Earl, the corpulent architect and vendor, constructs a 1,120 acre A-frame dwelling made out of utensils for his corpulent wife. His corpulent wife wants a garden east of their dwelling where in concatenation the spoons dangle on clothes hangers....

IV

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pp. 81-82

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I Ask the Sentence

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pp. 83-84

I ASK THE SENTENCE to move across the carpet floor.

I ask it to not drag its paragraphical legs while doing so.

I ask it not to be lonely, not to have ethical issues with women with menstrual cramps, or periods, and whatnot.

I ask the sentence to conduct itself in a way that does not deny the social conditions of other sentences, that does not make any sentence feel left out or suicidal....

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Furtive Bras

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pp. 85-94

THE BOOK ARRIVES SO SLYLY, so furtively. As if the bell around its neck has broken, muffled by the tissue. The noise and emptiness of the hallway. It climbs a flight of stairs with its wings embalmed, swallowing in its darkness.

Words flying, swimming, twirling in the body of their text.

Pages diving into each other’s depth: a book unopened, climbing a flight of stairs....

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Winter Rose

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pp. 95-102

WHEN IT RAINS, WHICH IT HASN’T. At least not lately. But when it rains, which can be in the spring or fall, Nicole’s nipples become alert and her vulva swells up with clouds of feelings and illusions. It’s winter now, yet her nipples continue to move in the same state of awareness, a type of visceral consciousness in itself that is impervious to the concrete world, at least it would like to think so. This morning, standing like an obscure fixture on the ceramic kitchen floor, she observes the exterior world,...

V

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pp. 103-104

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The Boy and the Mountain

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pp. 105-137

[MY FATHER AND I ARE ASCENDING the mountain together. He says that my thirteenth birthday is today. It is a day to celebrate my birthday and to celebrate my father’s death. Today is the day to talk to the mountain. My father dreams of bending and falling at the top of the mountain. We are going very slowly. We start at the base. One foot after another. We have started very early. We were up before the sun was up. I do not want to relinquish myself to the mountain, but my father insists that we...