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The Elephants

Five Poems

Jessica O. Marsh


inhospitable felt behind cover so so
opening so closing my proxy proxy

while she’s detained by thoughts of agency
in this zone rain cancels its humidity

it converts its predicate picture see
I am plaster imprints of your body to ignore

a moot question answered boldly
answered conceptually graphic design

like a star like a familiar mirror
feel the social steps from the imagined

afterthought is often bitter
conditional perfect bitter-bitter

slip an eraser from a painting
move it stumble in my register


while she’s detained by thoughts of trust
in this zone rain falls on rain

a wide circumference longer needs
no point it may have been a crayon

method method method cracked
spiritual praxis dinner hour

each fascinating button up to the last
last button yes I see the process process

each guise that tumbles generations
into the zone a puddle portrait

cognition-sparked back at itself
relief relief but nothing to ignore

all green all loss all wrenching bios
break my heart across the hours

if the hours emboss me zero
I seek form for formal soothing so

hearts on hearts on hearts on
hearts rustling indirect receivers

a smooth place a rock worn smooth
a freecore xerox of our hearts to adore

sufficient extra loser winner
awesome maze or just a scrawl

enough to soothe me back awake
place for place for place for place

grains of light cross ego’s floor
climbing up the moment ladder

name flaps off on pigeon’s wings
and slips the apex from the apex


turn on turn on turn on turn
plural green with space and light

you can still fold it into money
honey and concrete houses up

and if a hook is hanging in the water
I could charge my body into water

feel the cold trail sentence surface
twitch a trial into presents

reapproach my negative example
steal its tooth its paper cutter

in matter matter love to trip
trip the impulse in the edict

flip the lookbook into streamers
reapproach the constant meditation


Translate me into aspirations: a mouth unspeaking hopeful losses. Change your years the ocean bells are lightning. Change your hearts the chat alerts are scoring.

One light fucked another in my teacup. See, the quivered surface of the bentspace. Some kind of balm for competition. Some kind of truck inside the conversation.

Caught me into being air inside the torso. Mesh flats rounded to the lung and noiseless.
Faceless as the wall at night is shadows. Trace from the wall my share of night.



Diagonals of sun slither off each step liquid ice is glass or a bolt of shade.

Billows of gold is a street that particulates cross the sands of time. I am looking pink
into the face of my heart melted ice is kiss yes we never learn to adhere.


June in November below the flower pot. There are dead leaves in hot blue cold with a tender dead scent.
Whatever there is, breaks, glittering.


A sky that’s the shadow cast by the distance. Every light inside on turns it bluer than dark. The table so dry it wicked my shadow I listen first notes of thirst.

Outside there is ice with a flower inside.


May in April. I’m almost seventeen, twenty-three, 31 trunks lock against themselves figurally and bloom. I see light green as a vein in a wrist mine world-dotted membrane.

A smooth blue ribbon poured to one side.


The dolphins
of chaos
rolled through
  the ocean

bare tiles slid
from rain in
to her studies
kicked up

green dolphins
and reefs of
blue dolphins ex
heeding her studies

She is falling in display.


If she wears the sweater carelessly enough, she slams the door and moving crimeless as the ground
and slow along so being induced with them differently: light, vines affecting the wood & a clearing
spill of sunlight across still-earth the squirrel parts hopping between several squirrel-colored rocks
warm immobility and their dancing squirrel layer in an enchanted circle or gray brown articulated
nearness and the far trees as remote as the entire past, traced at that periphery the day traced
sharply itself reified at the prospect of night night next clattered open at now’s speculation rotating
stamped gold as light and ghosts and pain imposed on the trunks and the moss. A memory night
she had been waiting to feel as her other self, gratuitous and clear and burgeoning memory another forest
slipping into the gentle dryness, a pungent ritual scent of pine where the scent-stain bleeds ritual
recognition itself pines pouring pines and stalling fine branches. I mean their difference cracked
open deep blue of this sky pines and not this walking around in a wood. Not this twigs snapped
by chance when the nerves and now clearing scraped a significance into the more pines a figure
advancing then moving away, meaning the distance of that and the burden of watching meaning
the burden direction of difference or threat she moves in the brush screens among trunks advancing
in decades swept forward the habit of walking like this.

Jessica O. Marsh is graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in Action Yes, The Fanzine, Flying Object Press, Lana Turner, Patient Presses (in chapbook form), Prelude, Hot Metal Bridge and Vinyl Poetry. She lives in the Hudson Valley.

This originally appeared on August 2, 2017