12.2 / FALL/WINTER 2017



It is a way to leave the body—

fuzzed, pulpy, blunted

edges. The doorframe

moves like anything

stared at. Flaming

light darts down

the long hallway.

Sound stutters out

an open window.

Certain angles

burn warm

so orange







November enters like a truck
plowing the wrong way down
an exit ramp. My eyelids get frantic.
Ice swells the fingertips of trees
and I’m like a bird with tiny legs
jilting across freezing sand
toward an unforgiving ocean.
Forces carry me to the end.
My head is a balloon I can
barely handle. I eat the cake.
I eat the potatoes cooked in beer
and trounce through the holidays
like a trash compactor smashing
one day into the next.
I’m strong in the sense that
I am weak and know it.
The trees shake and darken.
I charge into the crowded
intersection anyway.





The two-car shuttle train
threads through Brooklyn
like a tiny pendulum
swung back and forth
above the storefronts.
Its low roar past
our kitchen window
cuts the hours,
keeps its own time.
You boil coffee
that tastes like sun.
Sometimes you change
the apartment into a forest
just by walking through it.
I come out of hiding.
I count the trains since
you left to buy bread.





This is the incantation
we’ve been waiting for.
A placemat for the brain.
That beeping sound
is the hours backing up.
A shipping container
full of lemons. I come
back and carefully pick
the bark off each day,
chew the bitterness out.
This motion I learned
from silence or from
swallowing a thought
before it cracks. Here’s
to a lineage buried with
instructions on how to be
yourself. A fistful of sun.
Here’s to the red berries
you can eat & the red berries
that will kill you. I carve
my name nervously
into park benches.
I wish for a fresh coat
of paint and for someone
to isolate the issue.
The blue day circles
before it ends. I sing
my molecules to sleep.


Ari Wolff’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Offing, Storm Cellar, Whiskey Island, Vinyl Poetry, Hinchas de Poesia, and elsewhere. She lives in upstate New York and works as a sexual health educator and youth advocate.

12.2 / FALL/WINTER 2017