The Poetry Project

Three Poems

A.G. Swigart


we meet in a furred
wheat field. I find a package

I lost you, my snake handler
my partner in serpentry.
you used to say:

keep your eyes on the snake
and you won’t get bit.
I part

easily as an oiled zipper.
would have killed me right there
to witness

how you slit its throat
with a sharp knife.
clean stroke, fast death. then,

ease. we can’t always bear
straightly facing our fear.
it’s all real alright

or all relative.
kill it to save it. sometimes,
I can’t tell your face

from my own. once,
on the phone, I said your name
when asked mine. once,

holding hands, I lost feeling
in my arm. couldn’t tell where
I ended and you began


we sin. not crucified nor side lined
a shape aside, a longing. a track
worn well I know you know
my thumb, your tongue, remember?

no pros at no contact — a reach.
delicious stretch, almost wretched,
peach pit heartbeat hardly hidden
in the floorboards.

once more: retract. not flinch nor flint
nor hand pulled fast but repetitious.
fat bundle of nerve fibers, those
areas of indefinite extent. over.

back again, I track you, my tract. lo,
it’s you I trace’n’retrace. that slickening.
all at once: silence or its resinous thrum
two strings strummed, then still.

how I hear your howling:
absence, absinthe, synth-lode, cinnamon.


silken sand so slow the great wheel of internet time stops
perhaps that’s an integral part,xxxxxto be tried by the limits

of fiber optic cables running under the sea floorxxxxxxxxxxforward,
reverse, the voluptuous gurgle demands timelessness or nudges

the boundary of chaos inside a fish’s eye. tar:xxxxxxxxxforbidden black
licoricexxxxxxxxxxxxthat great primordial belch that swallowed us all.

Work from The Art of Accumulation with Vi Khi Nao