Poetry by B. Chester
  Music by Paul A. Toth
  Art by Jessica Minckley
Let Me Go (c) 2006 Jessica Minckley
Extraction

Once, in a bar in Auckland,
I ate a fish in the bed of his body—
once his body, then
his bed. Milk eye open. Miss.

Put your wine glass
beside my phosphorescent tail. Hear
the air curdling.


His oily eye greened. My veins
tugged, they wanted to braid. But
my hand remembered—beak,

and dipped into the channel
that is my throat. My fingers
have been there. They bloat,
but they go.
Stuck on a grate, I plucked
the white V of death. A thing
about extractions:

they never get familiar.
I dreamt a bamboo shoot
plunged from the side of my vagina and a wire coil
filled with pink jelly churned
from beneath my eye.
This is no wonder: I know
extraction—babies

drawn down. Everyday
I wonder who they would be
to each other—not to me,
toward them my eyes are clobbered
and parched as the one in that fish. Witch!
I took their chance
to eat a fish, to have hands
wild to save you.

The Capability of the Deliberately Departed

Write me poems.
Say in one
that you're sorry.
Say in another
how you remember me,
in which clothes,
doing what.
Wind wrap and send them.
Say the things you were thinking—
You've been keeping us guessing here.
Give me an image.
Address me.
Come on,
look at all you've done.
You can do me this.

Crocodile Tears (c) 2006 Jessica Minckley
Gloves on Sticks (c) 2006 Jessica Minckley
The Bone Seed

The word bone seems awfully close to home tonight
And womb.

She was a jonquil and it was winter.
Oaks and maples bark at winter.
Poor pansies. Bulbs.

Our flesh cuddles bones.
We are a bag of seeds.

I'll do it in the bath so you won't have to clean it up.

I bite the frost. I know my
Seeds. Roots. Up

Above me the family branches hold buds like lit candelabras.

I do what is in me:
Rub bones
Spark blaze
Stamp seeds

And wait for the blood moon
So I might stretch
My limbs to the towering orchid inside.

Birds and Bees (c) 2006 Jessica Minckley
Early Morning Drive

The mountains behind Redlands
are pinned against the bluing wall of the sky.

The night matched them but now is leaving,
exposing their curves like women on their sides.

The moon is a lit sickle aimed for my neck
stuck in the black marsh of the sky.

I am driving fast past trees like children's drawings,
thick sticks with scrubby tops

on a road stretched out
like a tongue catching rain.

Icy ants scurry my skull,
as they do when you inhale image like nitrous.

Then I am back to the permanent hangover,
arms and legs dangling off this mystery thing,

jungle gym bars,
blood draining in changing directions.

I see between the drapes of dawn an older me,
married and baby-bellied.

She has forgotten me and all I stand for,
apparently out of necessity.

I understand.
Good for her.

Because me, I want to grab her ashy blonde head
and smash it against the landscape.

Painting the earth with the blood from her nose,
It's female, I say. It is female like you.

Forgive Me (I Fail) (c) 2006 Jessica Minckley
At 25, Reflecting on First Love

If I'm 40

and I still smell Sharpies

I'll be very upset.

But if I'm 40

and I still think of you

I'll draw my tongue black.