Poetry Suite by Stephanie Adams-Santos

Editor Carrie Seitzinger, Poetry, August 24th, 2016

"...my eyes are so thin the copper shines behind them..."

Marcin Owczarek art, poems by Stephanie Adams-Santos
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THE CITY AT THE END

…..

Tonight the circles of my eyes are the same
as the noises of flowers           the muffled cotton of flowers
as the drowned            as the bloated lillies
and their flies

as the hands      as the fins      as their severed heads
and their hands behind their backs
tied with shopkeeper’s string

They are the mute stems cut effortlessly

…………

I have not watched                  I have not listened
to their slow obliterating sounds

They have been falling
for weeks         opening           falling for weeks
into the water
……………………………..tightening, tightening

they have been falling
…………with the drip of water
against their foreheads

…………tapping mercilessly
at that gate of the grey bull
……………………huffing in the skull,
………………………………………..the Head

growing swollen and pale as the clouds
that lift from a lake and bruise
until they disappear

…………I have watched them until they are no longer falling
until they are neither floating     nor landed

and then I have carried them
in the blue-veined folds of every hour
…………where everything is carried
………………………………and everything lost

I have closed my mouth upon them       I have
carried them         swallowed them
as cries, carried them
to the other end of this yard
before forgetting

…………

…………Sometimes too
…………………………….I have dragged them like a dog

for I dream of dogs
how rough they are         how they bite each other’s necks

I have bit and inhabited them in me                   I have been with them
have been savage           with a mouth for killing:

I am they              the dog

…………wandering through the city abandoned                   so unsure
so little knowing I tremble          pushed to a black ledge of the sea

Too violent for a reflection

……………………too living to see anything but motion

fold after fold          each devouring the other

…………

My eyes are wearing down, my eyes
are so thin the copper shines
behind them           My irises waver

like cotton, my pupil the tiny mouth
of a bell.

Ah— I have wondered often
too often,

if when the hurled stone
finally breaks the edge of my heaven

…………I wonder
where will it bury its head       when it lands

and if it is a seed

…………………………..what type of seed
puffing out from its germ in the dark

+ + +

A VOICE

…..

I came from the factory,
measured by the hot machine
and worked to the temperature
of steel,

then I went in darkness a long time
until the spirit filled me, I thought
I might burst from being so suddenly
opened, I went up,

I remember the mouth
of something in the sea,
its soft throat convulsing
around me, then everything
dark again,

our bodies were
tumbled and dragged
to the shore,

what color was I?
I never knew

+ + +

LA FLECHITA

…..

Bone is to stone an old memory.
Bone is to stone a less quiet cousin.

In the land of the turtles
bones are carried back.

In Ayotzinapa—land of the turtles

under the labradorite slab
of sky

……………………..in a patch of green
and brown beneath a palm tree—
…………the white cross of a shrine burns
in pale light.

At night the bones
move in the lake.

At night a stone flies through the air,
la flechita buries its dark nose
…………in the water, knowing by heart
………………………………where bodies sleep.

+ + +

THINKING ALONE

…..
Into the brown vegetable dark. A stranger’s words are on my lips: like
waking with dew on my mouth in a quiet field, the cold coming in. It’s
November. It’s November—the middle of living, here is the fullness of
something that has passed. I am entering something. Into the dark—I am
asking something. Keep me rapt, in this wind, keep me quiet and folding,
into what? Now I go to the fleshy cerebrum in which the soft meat marks
the stars in pulses—I am poised here in the poem as in the center of my meat—this
soft-walled temple where the fire, where the quivering strings are held with
muted hands. I am buried deep inside. Struck so dumb in being, my brain
is a stone buried in the head of a toad, awake or asleep in a green corruption
(a rock—in the center of a crown) and swollen with flies, thighs glistening
with wine from the drunk algae—the excessive, life-loving algae—and below
the oily scum, bright as copper, a crocodile’s claws goring into aimless
substance. Now in the velvet muck-tracts, in the marsh-wet lining of the
limbs, in the shanty temple of my own mouth I can see the old germs
curled with faces, faces with faces but nowhere my own.

+ + +

Header image courtesy of Marcin Owczarek. To view a gallery of his artwork, go here.

Stephanie Adams-Santos poet poems NAILED MagazineStephanie Adams-Santos is a Guatemalan-American writer, educator, and divination artist from Portland, Oregon.  She is the author of Swarm Queen’s Crown (Fathom Books, 2016) and several chapbooks: Total Memory (Finishing Line Press, 2016); Little Fugues (Sola Books, 2015) and The Sundering (Poetry Society of America, 2009).

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Carrie Seitzinger

Carrie Seitzinger is Editor-in-Cheif and Co-Publisher of NAILED. She is the author of the book, Fall Ill Medicine, which was named a 2013 Finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Seitzinger is also Co-Publisher of Small Doggies Press.
Learn more about her at her official site.