Exquisite Corpse - Issue 3
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by Holly Pettit



And they named her Juno, tying her
to a name pitched so forward, so over
and deep, sinking deeper
that as she grew she could only be
pulled further toward the boiling
sulfurous vents where crustaceans
crawl blind and white.  A girl weighted thus
could always be located
and useful, for the surface wants
to map the rifts and volcanoes
on the ocean's floor.  Too late
they remembered the radio, the wire
by which to hear her low crushed calls.


Did I damage you, Jeremiah?  Certainly
you were already damaged.

Or in wrecking me did you manage
to hammer out some compromise
with the widow inside, that
black clad howler wailing all the years
before the Fall,
seemingly swaying since
earth's beginning
when atom clouds collapsed
into flesh and bone your myth,
your history, the wheat you bound for threshing
in the field of this world.

Mouthpiece of Heaven, unable
to speak for yourself, you bent
your scythe to the task --
a tool that only knows how to cut.
Now I know how they
were established --
those keening, ululating lamentations
which I -- stiff-necked
and proud -- too late turned my ears to hear.


19 Lovecraft : No Photo Avail.

It could have been the house was haunted,
still walked by dusty men
of the flophouse it had been from when
the neighborhood declined under Truman.

In the eighties a young couple bought it,
broke padlocks from the bedroom doors
and replaced a bathroom on the third floor
to get rid of the creeping smell.  By the time
Harry saw the house we were already

way past our prime, yet we walked in,
the other couple long since divorced,
the house rented out and marketed again.
A lone grad student occupied the second floor parlor,
stood sulking and smoking at the back door

as Molly the Realtor made such a bother
pointing out the downsides -- the furnace,
the kitchen, unable to say in her professional
position that some houses smother
and this was one of them.

Adelaide, I Tell You

His signature is comical, scrawled
so all the reader can imagine is a second-grader,
thick pencil in pinched fingers

crabbing out letters atop the line
that follows the word, 'Name.'  How dare
the TA's mail his letters off to Deans

and Presidents, slide them into application packets
and how do the grant makers feel, opening
one of those studiously collected appeals, each page

with that queasy badge on its bottom, or perhaps
just initials, bruised as apples, wobbly
and falling off their photocopied lines?

What kind of kindergarten
is this campus where a man
can keep on failing to make round

his 'A's' and 'O's,' pour out
his boyish complaints and play quarters
with the Greeks in lettered sweaters,

beer and curly fries in the basement clubs,
keep on carrying on, keep on
carrying on like that forever?





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