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The trees spear their leaves,

what caresses you

is violent. The children are animals

that have been broken

in the tall grass, cut


upon habitat.: I am the sharp edges of everything

in another dimension. Whatever turns red

belongs to me, even the faulted  

chasm in another place and

Time.: I owned everything, then the moon

ate its red between your sighs.

The moon went pale again, dark

is never lack but reflections of unearthly suns

departing, / + attempts to perfect

murder—there have been attempts

to split the ions, boundaries made from

no boundary first—,

When seas separate, we start

clean; No one can really do it

but god, if you believe, the end

is not coming. When your hurricane

builds deserts, when it arrives—

Tomorrow I will still speak of you and we will eat

ourselves, the wine of our

belied equivalencies, my brined

uterus pitted against sea against

sea against sea against sea for every land

out for itself—as any god

is a delusion, and that includes you

and your god, who is called

by my name,

I tell you

of the flood I see; you call my prophesies

aberrations until I walk through

the wall; all water I have known floods; belongs,

or wherever it wants, it owns; belongs

to no one.



when keys turn in

the greenwind, I am another being

than what I am—no longer bull

beetled, not rabbit-

torn. I am not

a mantis. why do keys make music?

from which fleabag

center does a key learn

its smarts?

In the winters

of your memory, someone is

shearing me. Do you remember when you were

young the way your astral moss covered

my prayers, and your curses of habit

stained the stones? this key is a perfect

panic I have written to unlock

you in the moment we dream for/

bleed from, but can’t locate or hold onto past

this century of evening. O! So few

evenings, so many centuries. I’m heartened by

the dilapidated extinction. Nothing about you

or this is permanent. Later you’ll want to know

if I ever married a client. why would I do it?

can I be trusted?

and you? when will you stop running

after your face?


My keys twist like deserted heavens in the midnight.

Other people’s keys I can hear are fragile and liberated

like soap balloons. The most common ones are soft and

arrogant, sought tree-bound kittens, clawed

poorly. But some sound hard

and screaming in the awl of this aura,

as though they never studied themselves:





Your great sorrow is the day again, born

upon itself. What forces you

upon yourself? Which of your bodies

answers your shadows; eclipses

all the yous. Which of your shadows

eclipses your shadow; that is who

you occupy.


I speak with my hours about

the order of their birth. She wallows,

the second born, suspecting me of ecstasies

and gilded shadows. While I die four times

for her. I pray and beg

of me: release. Still this daughter

follows me with knives, suspecting

me of unknown moons, of

dining with the living.



I tried to stitch my life

inside your damp hyper-

flight. It’s been winters. . .

people say things, intending to reconcile that flames are born

within them while they sleep. while you slept,

I died and—there was

an and. in whatever order, you love

to lie. when you lie,

you sleep, I shave my body-

thorn, grow it back. I grew a

second head, I grew a tail, I found

a place to denigrate my

self; but the spine, on any edge,

decompresses. after I displace

a sorrow for another sorrow, I weep,

bleed over the pillows. Then I am

better. When I was here, there were many

pillows. I didn’t understand /

I fucked an animal / In the shape of

a man, I fucked a man

in the shape of

an animal. The animal in a woman-

shape. I in an animal. Then I did some other

things. I cooked a stew; in bed I stewed; I read

an ancient word, but such words

are now burned in the homeland

I dreamed of words turning into animals: such words

are sacred and my work is

illegal in the bedroom

and useless in poetry.


I was ill for so long that my sickness densified in me

and buried all the hells: I vomited

up every ocean

diamond and knew no one

to give them to.


while you died, and—I slept. you must have whispered

words into my ear, because in the morning I knew of things

I had never seen. I felt a fire in my ear,

as though an earthly witch knew me. I tried

to find her, begged her to leave me, then to

teach me. This is how witches are. They want

no one around, but they want to be

known. What ridiculously good

fucking, what religiosity.


The Book of 11 



I watched the latent harvest splitting

under soil. I begged my hands

to dig me. Certain mythic prowess


guards my children, though

the man in the tower tells me

I have none. Once, I had blood

on my hands. I slaughtered my lovers

shoes in towers. Certain beasts I have

at home. I bore them out

of. Certain storms

swell or burden the deserts /

In me., Beasts ride backwards

in a blousy morning. What person

did you make in your mind a thing?

What home did you

arrive to? The children who I speak of


cut their teeth and throats

on me. The ocean returns only to feed

on me, and to be fed on: That is what

a tide is, I feed on. It feeds

on me. I am no one’s mother

unless your illness has a word for

mine, unless you have proof of my body

in the hours I exist, still

formerly, in the stunning sailing efforts

of my younger youth.


Whatever turns red is mine. I own everything

then the sun eats

its garbage between your

sighs. There is a storm

that grows beyond the bodies

of the children we once built

who slipped away here.


You can see their bodies crouched in the grass, there,

forbidding passage

rulers, all.




I am going to do another

bad delicious thing

soon, the mustard seed is harvesting

under wanton charts; See,

I am the sky/: Nobody dreams of marriage

in their sleep. Not like that. But in daytime,

fuck. Bugs beg, singing: buy me buy me an animal

made from shining dirt to wear around my [                   ].

You know. Fill it. Blood compresses too

much in the liquid evening. Bugs surround

again, to feast hard

the lovely desirables, orange-

blooded harpies in the bodies

of the living. So, you hunt what you thought

choice. You want the blessings

to tongue you? You want dominion

over this?



Or you’re a galaxy. Take order and make

notices of night, or whatever goes

along forever, honey jet journeys

set without you. Don’t forget,

when you count the missing

that no one is gone.


It is in that way, you contrive

me. I am sift-ash in

Herculaneum, ordaining forgotten

soils. Weathers contain us,

but let’s not lie about it,

even if we have to lie here:

you marred you and I

marred me:


god was nowhere,

can’t be blamed.




who was Moses and who

was his contemporary? not from then;

from now—a person who is nearly him

arrives; or reimagines himself alive; falsifies

a word for ghost; as though

body is a passport. when people ask,

are you alive? he lies. once, we had names

for these, before history sat down in a myth-box;

before the labyrinth of god

was made of a labyrinth of

bullshit idioms playing with our foundation

stones, of tower blackouts, shallow story

repercussion methodologies,

outdated in retrogradient.

“Sag but true,” somebody says,

and the shallow grave laughs. Here.

I know how to do it. I’ll learn to act

by reading several translations

of the bibles, then let’s drive

to LA.




15 / 1


I want another; maybe I’m

evil. I would like to be shut

up soon. I would like to be

refuah around the moon.


16 / 2


a body marries themselves

to me before a word

has been spoken. spirits

have supple sharp

remembrances, eating

on flesh. night’s dust

wraps me in myself before

it is time. I might collapse

our hours, if this callisthenic

dreaming was all

that was. in ocean,

grasses, my lawn soaked by

invisible calcified

seams. thinness is

altered definition /

muddy with my boned

friends’ minds. but the ropes

of my now blood

are sequined

and precise.


17 / 3


it was him

who came. in his bandaged

face, a rippled [           blank   ]

the inside of us, bonding

sea. countenances he has

some. we delivered to ourselves,

it / him, by inviting

story / a terror. I’ve fallen out with

narrative. the humidity is a pretense

of rain, portending tolerance

of some kind, but nothing

of the sort. no,

no allowance here. I can be made permissive

by conditioned buttons

which is neither consent

nor its opposites. neither am I

the opposite of myself

neither am I. when we merge,

I am you. and you

are not you.


I am built by a walk. more blonde winds.

it does not rain but the alliances


in the air grow so thick that I drink everything,

just by breathing, including soil

and salt remains the lifeforce of these

witches and I eat my grandmothers; my unborn sons

eat mother. how grandmothers love to be

eaten; how they delight body

worships. Eat, eat, grandmothers say.

Let’s be real: they’re screaming.

They love it.

They know they live again

in my guts,

and that takes guts.


19 / 5


After years of drought, more bluebeards arrive

to be killed. I love blue

blood when it is on the lawn. I love

the warpath of the stinging nettles on my tongue,

in my hair, and densifying across my organs

after the river runs blue. They arrive on their own.

I don’t seek them out to kill, but practically.

2018-07-27 09.16.26.jpg

"Prison Wall, #1" - Larry D. Thacker


Maura Pellettieri is a poet, storyteller, & art writer. Her work centers the relationship of the femme body to eco-poetics. Her writing appears (or will) in the Denver Quarterly, Newfound, Vinyl, Fairy Tale Review, Guernica, The Kenyon Review, & elsewhere. She received her MFA in fiction at Washington University in St. Louis. Since 2013, she has investigated political-somatic forces in collaboration with visual artists across conceptual & social practice boundaries. She grew on the banks of the Hudson River, known first as the Mahicantuck River, or the “river that flows two ways.” 

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