Joanie Mackowski



Bustle and caw. Recall the green heat
rising from the new minted earth, granite

and basalt, proto-continents shuffling
and stacking the deck, first shadows flung

from the ultraviolet haze. A fern
uncurls from the swamp, the microscopic furnace

of replication warms the world, one
becoming two, two four: exponential blossom.

Lush with collision, the teacup balance
of x and y, cells like balloons

escaping into the sky — then the dumbstruck
hour, unmoored by a river,


A momentary rupture to the vision:
the wavering limbs of a birch fashion

the fluttering hem of the deity’ s garment,
the cooling cup of coffee the ocean the deity

waltzes across. This is enough — but sometimes
the deity’ s heady ta-da coaxes the cherries

in our mental slot machine to line up, and
our brains summon flickering silver like

salmon spawning a river; the jury decides
in our favor, and we’ re free to see, for now.

Iceberg Lettuce

What vegetable leviathan
extends beneath the dinner table,
an unseen, monstrous green that pulls
the chair out from under our faith

in appearances: see a mere tuft
of leaf on the plate like a wing,
but if it flies away, it undoubtedly
will disturb the continental drift

asleep under the salad plate,
the hidden world we forget
as we reach for the smaller fork—
(and now, mouth full, don't speak: politely