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boundary 2 28.3 (2001) 125-132

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Faye Kicknosway


Christopher Columbus was a thief.
Then he was a beggar.
Florida was a postcard to him.
That’s as close as he got.
Jonah climbed in his window.
It was the size of a spoon.
He had a sailor’s face,
all weeds and sticks that wouldn’t burn.
He asked Columbus to take it off of him.
But Columbus was made of ashes.
Thistles of light fell
and priests, like fat toys
from coloring books, came to Columbus
to ask him why.
He said it was because their map [End Page 125]
had no exit.
But neither did his.
Green flies flooded his heart.
He put it in a biscuit tin
under his bed.
Geometry ate it, spitting in it first.


Sometimes nasty stuff falls out of the sky and gets in your
hair and it’s usually from pigeons and it’s mostly when
you’re walking in the city where it’s hard to stay
away from pigeons because they mostly live there instead
of in the country because they’re like chickens and only
eat the bad stuff that falls on the street from what is
used like crumbs and dirtier stuff than that and that’s
part of what falls in your hair when you’re walking in
the city when you have to go there for some reason like
you have to see a doctor or go to a movie or do the washing
or something like that and if you don’t get it out of your
hair real fast like use the water from a drinking fountain
in the street or go into a store to the lavatory they got
there or even to a gas station or a place where you eat and
wash it out of your hair right away what happens is it gets
into pieces small enough to fit into where your hair comes
out of your head and it fits into those holes and it goes
into your head and your mind and then all through your body
and your whole body gets fat especially in the middle and
you make people touch you there and then brothers get born.


for Zack

First, there was a clammy heat.
Then, there was a lighthouse.

Some rolled up their sleeves
while others watched. [End Page 126]

There was sand and sometimes
a pool of air, climbing.

Little houses had little mouths
and sawdust spilled from them.

A man turned a corner, abandoning
future attempts at parallel behavior.

A tassel of wind scratched the front
of his shirt, and he rebuked it.

And wept, because his footsteps
touched him, because he’d been hiding.

The crimson sky replenished all its
absence. Then took its gloves off.

It was cool, finally, and nobody
jumped. A roof of air spoke softly.

It was shaped like a doll maker’s hand.
The moon, and flawless clouds, escaped.


There is an island, but it is a hat
and a photograph of
a hat, and breath—so tenuous—

overhangs it

as does an inkwell; no;

an octopus
in a black suit
         sewing an umbrella

because it’s a comical shape; no;
      because it’s a conical shape

and so pious

and so envious
of Aristotle’s salamander:
            four elbows [End Page 127]
instead of eight—and a heart

that is its eyes’ engine
            all drawers of it
            all handstands
            and cartwheels of it


for Ann Mikolowski

The highway’s been thrown out
of grandma’s sewing basket
and is immortal.
Because yarn is, and thread, too,
and the highway’s stitched
from them both.

And so daylight passes
and buses pass and are lamed
by the food
gas stations serve.

The bridges, the fences,
the dairy cows all
get thinner.
The scenery beside the highway
crawls into
the little black holes
in the center of every crow’s eyes,

because they eat
what’s been killed all day.
And there’s glue on the backs
of it, so rabbits...