Jessica Morey-Collins

is the prospect of a sister. Two Samantha Mulders hold hands at the curb. Static flicks off of their finger-nails, a bee-drone fuzzes the frame. They are many,

and the sadness has such a bad smell that it peels paint & the paint curls into two
new Samantha Mulders, gluey at their peeled away places.

Take today, for example. A little sister lays down, clips
her spine

into the sidewalk. All the other sisters hopscotch across her, which is their form of
wallowing, and turns the sidewalk Samantha into a smudge of ash, into a habit

-able planet. A sister is a glitch in objectivity. The static gathering under the tap of
each foot is time fighting with itself. The sidewalk under each footfall, once a sister,
is now

the sort of static that blooms into rude flowers that shout HAVE YOU THE &
CAN YOU SPARE A, and the static flowers suck oxygen,

spew carbon. Nation-wise, bee-wings flutter off of bee bodies. Sisters split into ever
more sisters. We haven’t any time, but the sisters—ever giving—flick their spare all
over—their moments opal, their bodies are lost in starlight,

and the photons that hold

our eyes are immeasurably old—dead by the time they reach us.

after Laura Kasischke

Work weakened, the interns grapple with a lone time construct. The loom of their luck-blown die, cast; the heinous corner creak of one number toward the up-face, another toward the table. Numbers or Names. Never the obvious informants, of. When they approach experience, it dissolves. Cotton candy in a never-twice river. They mourn into their raccoon hands.

Even their sensations have been named for them. They are spasms wrapped in newspaper. They are cracked knuckles organized in an ice-cube tray. Before, the clack and scrape of flints. After, the glint and its nasty shadow, cast. At last, the wall-cave dance of half-price beers.

During the flourish of a signature, they were given the glint of coin. But late capitalism’s fit of future ripped coin from glint, so glint alone now tickles them.

The glint’s demands not bland nor fabulous. The glint wants no limb-thrashing, just a clap’s echo, a flash of shadow over closed eyelids. That S twice stung through is everything:

their eyes closed, hands open, pay us, pay us. And from their flayed hands just spun shadow.


On the drive out we are also islands.
Our big wet hearts are everywhere
and our intentions only little blips of land
sticking up in the middle. What but clumps of sand
are we. Stilted houses stand for
nothing, stand forth while the gulf heaves and glistens—
granules, habitats half-sunk, half-sinking. We slow our pulses
just enough to listen to fish scales pop off
of beached monsters—maws all howl-shaped, yellow
water sucking the sand out from under each
husk. Our big wet hearts muddy up each
other—our countries rubbing together at their edges
but each of us wearing her own America—fair
only in the sense of poetic justice; that is, our laughs
are collateral. Halve them. We’d landed
as a dirge for lost species, but treating each other, still.


Father could only Virgil his girl so far through her madness, having—according to the manners of his time—to leave her at the point at which her fascination with her anatomy began to brighten. Had daddy always sounded so? There’d be no appropriate holding her, now, no robe-lounging since she’d found her mouth—every mound so flowered.

He sits in a storage tub and it rains only onto him. On the hillsides, cacti glint. From her window, daughter watches a doll-baby dragged under a sedan’s back bumper, but daddy can’t hold her hand. She collects her tears in a dropper and, from a great distance, dots them on the dry concrete. Inscrutable Morse code (she as no soul to save, there is no holding a grown daughter). Down from her tower, she curls in the center of a cul-de-sac, comma, other girls pool around her. Suburban girls talk in off-brand slang about babies’ soft skulls. Father watches from his tub—his own peers huddle around pilsners, comparing fears for their daughters—whose is bigger? How strange now did daddy sound?

The whole town cranes its neck to make sense of the backed-over baby. Mannequins after all, dressed up potential, the unborn tucked into the town’s daughters swap cloven feet for sneakers. The girls’ wombs echo with the squeak of rubber soles.

There’ll be no appropriate holding them now, emboldened by the failure of a mother to keep her baby safe. To grow is to access a flow state out of grieving, to blow the moment like a fuse—not to vanquish mishaps in the name of safety but to settle, copacetic, into a well-balanced square. To fold one’s excess possessions ever smaller and set them inside plastic walls. To control the climate. Fathers can only watch

while all the best laid
unplanned pregnancies scatter
through dust-choked gutters—

while his growing girl
laughs and brandishes her axe
wound, shouts come at me.

Jessica Morey-Collins is a Pushcart nominated poet and educator. She received her MFA from the University of New Orleans, where she won an Academy of American Poets award, and worked as associate poetry editor for Bayou Magazine. Her poems and essays can be found in Pleiades, The Pinch, Juked, Animal Literary Journal and elsewhere. She is currently working on a Masters of Community and Regional Planning at the University of Oregon.