a closer yes, a kerosene
lamp from which
bodies dissonant
can’t collapse
into netting
on greenery: plot
the compass    nose
to flower—flower
facing ground
it’s center an eye
identify the space between
placement of an X
across a profile
-- two lines never
breaking dark
into strike--  never
a ratio in distance 
a severed stinger
in a lilac—
how far back did
wheat once
needle into you:
motion skinning
sprig of thread no
flesh-- didn’t mean
you    only garnish to
only thought a briar
pressed would
whittle ticks back
into palm etches
wan tinted— what
for? contrast
by its presence or absence
potpourri sends me   
clocking spores 
up to lunar
alterations   palms
up to—I mean
try to identify   
real time with impossible
tools      tearing
into one: breaking
then— a frame
dissembles the clot
I am for this purpose—
hard      sensuous air
fucking it sentient through
the loop yes
set me there     in refrain
after everything
(a fragrance)
after the light
said it couldn’t
run up against
where the hole is
(it blooms)
a metal solution
is remaining
upright     not 
parallel     if I said light
could have meant
how to fill
you didn’t ask—
a network veined
I know   a stem
that bends across
how long has it been
both a clock  and then 
the earth     it’s basic 
composition   yes
it is as well with me



Rasping what clover 
honey dilutes    fever
dreaming fruits
fetished hands might guide
into charred hogs—
one destination enough
to be stood
with muteness    no    
I’m ill      dosage
of perennial snow
making earnest the shape
of teeth lost into oh
around the cup
compliant though drunk
into worsening—
hand plied around
a pane makes for vision
doubled or
forayed, one can
never, outside, say
but condensing
it’s none of our
business, here,
a table heavy
with glitter and little
to eat    I ask for
a lozenge and am met
with a lens, a way
to wither, this and
a fossilized tooth sans
museum     orifice     
up for renovation   
check eroding tools:
wither prerogative
wither tribute   
wither slog     wither
“check”     wither boot
say but the throat
coated-- not in
the cards--- and the eye
is but emitter---
(a wool sleeve diminished
by a wither
-ing look)
elongated  is not
a way to mirror
the knife    letters
not colliding and the hides
of animals remain
dead though    rippling   
sewn in to muscles seizing    
minus tongue    I look
the knife into itself 
sing it like a mime--  
ask for a glass
you’ll be handed of what  
it’s process separate
from procession
if you plead
in charade     convey
to the mouth  when I pull
a spoon from my ear
(to be of use)
in this condition    
everything is my hands



lines fail existent proof
or space       still, delineate
or else you’re blanking    
drawn blanks whited out
by transcribers at a later
date who dub it false death   
non-event      forge a little
stint seeing lines recover
static waver as foreground,
shudder across a back,
tremor back over water,
and water, like ground,
(except to the vertiginous)
still      the moon removes itself
equatorially speaking but
still, even peninsulas reach
as mossy fingers, meager
thrusts to prove a distance so
if there is a body, you still 
have to make it
fit the confines   pick
your hemisphere then dislocate
     cast an echo, angling line,
forego Greco-Roman plotting
akin to fetching, cast an echo to
prevent drift, prove room

[white wall    white wall]

not continent contingent given
locality moves      imagine
a bell—then sound it
somewhere and somewhere
a lesser distance off, a man will
clear his throat, a schedule
cutting into walls out from
others into simple telepathy    
but what is it escapes      in
the case of a body outline,
a blank expression    lamp
clicks were the hands tied
so nautical around the back  
did it leave      as you knew   
a mark    and here the actor
always cracks: end scene      
dial  in, cord out     pick up
the receiver to find it’s a map   
receive (now salivate      now
quiet) tick marks are just half
equal signs leading you
to a version of  ‘in front of you’    
     the mind as though a strung
thing invisibly limbed, no
backtracker, no possibility
of blanks       examine landline   
powerline, anything with
shape is another bloodcrime
waiting   to happen and here
you are greedily still counting
to twelve    (back down again)  
moles again aligning Pangaea
-like or satellite across
a back, one can never tell
in sight but touch     and still
you’re back at it    coordinating
a system     that is, a faith


Ellen Boyette received her MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was an Alberta Kelley Fellow and Teaching-Writing Fellow. Her first book of poems, BEDIEVAL, was a finalist for the Slope Editions 2019 Book Prize judged by Solmaz Sharif as well as the CSU 2021 Lighthouse Series Book Prize judged by Shane McCrae. Her work can be found at jubilat, Prelude, poets.org, The Columbia Review, Bennington Review, and elsewhere.