Ange Mlinko


A Not Unruffled Surface

The sky was laced with Irish cream mist, that mellow tan overhanging the hills, which were studded with deathmasks and baskets spilling flowers from both ends.
We scanned the haze for lightning.
They were studded with earthworks and iron forks inserted between leaves of grass, jacks and bearings and balances, sinuous fingers of pink marble and synovial joints in bronze.
But if we got struck by lightning — not a lot; say glanced, or shaved, there was a chance (we heard) it wouldn't be so bad: a little refreshing, a little like La Vita Nuova in a readable translation.

Cantata for Lynette Roberts

Lynette, the stars are kerned so far apart —
Through a herniated zodiac I almost see your waled skylanes, your shocked Capricorn and Cancer.
In the hundred and two years since you were born, and the sixteen since your heart failed, and the nearly sixty since you gave up poetry, it seems we can’ t navigate by the same star chart.
I’ d like to think we were fated to work the same coracle: you steering with one hand, grasping your corner of the seine while I grasp mine; together sweeping the weirs.

Conversion Comedy

"I thought of you as a butterfly tonight," getting to eschatology from a sketchpad, your mom's.
And though you write sermons nice and linear you also digress and about-face.
The jeroboam trees are dark tonight.
Darker in the outage than the stars let the sky be.
Partyers all.
The abbot told you, "I do not have power, the archbishop does not have power, the pope does not have power. Only God has power."
Then it is not a kind of violence to put a photo of the Pope in a luscious hacienda, imperilled by a minature pullbell.

The Grind

Three mini ciabattini for breakfast
where demand for persnickety bread
is small, hence its expense, hence my steadfast
recalculation of my overhead,

which soars, and as you might expect
the ciabattini stand in for my fantasy
of myself in a sea-limned prospect,
on a terrace, with a lemon tree...

Not: Assessed a fee for rent sent a day late.
Not: Fines accrued for a lost library book.
Better never lose track of the date.
Oversleep, and you’ re on the hook.

“They that dally nicely with words may quickly make them wanton”


Should I take this time, while the children are in school,
to untrim the tree? Standing in the dish we let go dry,
it looks well-preserved, as if Christmas were still
in our future; would it spare their feelings if I dismantle
piece by piece its grandeur, or will I amplify
their sense of loss, to de-jewel it without ritual?