6.09 / August 2011

Two Poems

Flood Loot

listen to this poem

I am oakbark tired      and wiry from exertion
swimming pirogues in viscous water      I have lost
shoes in every parish in Louisiana      or stolen
them      tied to a rod      like a birth sac      or host

of missing leather animals      I carry them like lanterns
and they glow      four months of munching on ferns
three months of stunted growth      I got burns
from palming coals     from steel rope      I got to learn

the difference between dusk and fucking      I’m beholden
to a church on pilings      collapsible in the wet      most
of it strafing in a wake      of pyx and absolution
I wish it were transferable      gaze to gaze      like a ghost

dressed in cattails and brine      and with mine      flamed
under      I’ll find      hands gripping ax and gun      aimed

Intermediate Unmooring

listen to this poem

                          You’ve unpeeled yourself
as in the hard outer fiber of thistle      falling
away from itself by cane knife.      Thorn flower
discarded. A might meddled      the camaraderie
of flick and thin      suctioning boots from hole
to hole.                  Consider what would happen
green and sinking to sod. First your toes
grip root matter. First your eyes.                  Lower
constrictor. Also called evacuation of people
and pets and photographic evidence
from zones      ripe with hollows between
ground and sea level      tongue and tongue.

Once the wind hits your face      make yourself
an offering.                  Windows siding and doors striped
with Saint Andrew’s cross. One body two body
three body, A. D.      à detruire      to destroy
not to burst particleboard with flow
not to forget your coat in a storm.                  Your people
lashed by great exes that tell them what they need to know
approximate dates for deghosting      for eyes
mercurial with river      looking down at limbs
erupting nails from feet and hands
but only going      so far

Christopher Lirette, originally from Chauvin, Louisiana, currently lives in Newark, New Jersey with his wife, Linda. His most recent poems appear in Hayden's Ferry, decomP, and Colorado Review. In 2007, he received a Fulbright Grant to write in Acadie. Currently, he teaches at Cornell University, where he earned an MFA. In addition to writing, he has worked as an offshore roustabout, an archery instructor, and a personal chef.
6.09 / August 2011