In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • From "Golden"
  • Beth Bachmann (bio)


The fence was made of diamonds each a little smaller than our hearts to keepus from putting our hands through.Still, the flaw was that our fingers could touch, if careful.Barbed wire can rip you open if you try to cross it, but in the sun it sings.Wrapping a thing around itself weaponizes.The ultimate weapon against desolation is patience.Wait for storm.Some weather patterns make the animals move, make the animals press theirlacy bodies against the wire.When we were young, the field was everywhere and the animals drank whereverthey wanted.We were birds, borderless.Then, the barbed wire wound itself around the prison, the cage, the rose garden.Thorns twisted up each stem while the birds spiraled down for the kill.The rose petals grew symmetrical, but the barbs on the diamonds screweddirectionless, one way or the other designed to stick like feathers into skin.

like a like a slot machine

I paint my face gold for camouflage like the flower buried above the body itfeeds on. [End Page 162] Bullets don't let the light in, much.Pincushion, crown of thorns, horn of warfare.Gold, in the end, is supposed to mean forever, a thing you can burn shapeless:water taking the shape of what holds it.It makes our mouths open just to say it: gold, and our tongues sink to thebottom of each our own fat, velvet purse.Gold: a coin like a gong hung and the uvula a mallet at the end of the joke.Don't wish on it.The metals will leech and kill the fish.Koi toxin, lure to swallow, gold baby, slug nugget, bitty bag of fairy teeth.You know why winged things leave a coin under your pillow?So they can bite to see what's pure.Of all the music, blues sounds the most like gold, the sun out of reacheach night, gold key of the instrument, gold chain of the watch—tomorrow,tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow; tomorrow,take it to the bridge.Of all the music, blues sounds most like laughter, in its contraction.Abused?I used it more than I should, bruised the apricot into the bottle, smeared myface like a stem.

shrapnel, bomb, hole

Clockmakers used gold for gears because the way a thing works is sometimesvisible. [End Page 163] Right now, there's a hole in the sky around the sun; we call it a halo, thoughthe sun is headless and unangelic and most of all no mother to anyone.No mother to hang her head over the face of a child, petal-heavy, winged.Just a hole or what looks like one, the way the constellation Crater is also acup, the way a vase can be filled with the shards of another vase and madeinto the kind of bomb that leaves pieces of itself inside you.There's a whole branch of weaponry known as fragmentation.Little bits of porcelain can blind.The hole in the sky is only ice crystals in the clouds that might mean rain.A snake hole is not made by the snake, but made by the snake inhabiting it.The snake hidden inside a basket of flowers or a water jug, the hole is alwaysa way in or a way out, as in the throat, say, of Cleopatra lying on her goldensheets, foaming a little at the mouth.Sometimes, there's nowhere to put the candle that won't set the whole thingon fire.The fire is not in and of itself sustainable: grab the ax; it's dying and we'rehungry.And later, grown out of control, we need water, bucket by bucket.The hole's also a well.When a child is hurt, we call, Ice!

climate change

The sun slices off another continent and the city of my dreams is underwaterbefore I arrive.Library of lost books, have we learned nothing from your screaming? [End Page 164] Do you know how to check if you're dreaming?Read something; look away.Do the words say the same...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 162-166
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.