Mackenzie Kozak



when he left now      i was made of molecule
      small-headed and near globes of water
everything frontal
and lobed

            every matchstick dragged over
its chemical stripe

                        when he left
i thought i was with fever
and then with child
            but after nothing for many months      ballooned
i knew i was only round with my own
that floated in oceans            which i crossed like a feather
            seeing my face in salt
                        and never hardening

and the heat was real             it was            in fact
            a fiery bush that dropped singed fruit
each hour            an appetite aflame
            the warmth of which i could not gather

and that was when i knew
            he was very much in another state
with another woman now      and i was the same
            so i was not this woman
with beautiful fingernails
      i was drifting                  eventide
                  i was eating grapes out of a bowl




it begins with an inkling, little twinges 
of fog      [ how he starts to let me in ]      

but i hear inking and imagine
the bluing of sheets 

and when they were badly torn 

he feels pangs, a clenching 
and frequents the dark

like the dark is an atmosphere 
to plummet

how i have travelled through thought 
to reach him, squinting and creasing 
my brow  

asking     is it half the skull     do you 
empty yourself, an offering 

[ how he lets me out ]      when i knew you 
then, a lightness that i couldn't suffer long 

i have cracked the door, bent the silence 
to a keyhole 

was the pain not stunning      was its clutch 
not neat enough      its hand       its bloom   




he says it & i am flummoxed.
spaceship, body of knowledge,
the world & then some. it gathers
height, picks up in wind. said what?
there's a little bit of rum that sticks
to the glass. on a day that sticks
to the throat, sound as currency.
it is the way he says it & not
the substance of it, like four wheel
drive shifting, beginning to grate
& grind. tiny particles, how it always
begins. if something is swept, how
it fans out & colors. he says it &
a row of books fall from the shelf
in the hallway, they wilt open.
or a fan begins to slowly turn,
clicking its eye. there are moments
i want to be touched so closely
together that a razor would split
both skins. but the fan is the sound
tonight, it lurches over us, &
it is this evening i kneel, begging
for snow to fall though it is only
august. how something has frozen
inside me, how no heat can enter
there, the nothing, that hum.




and so        balancing on two spires of ice
the spring ends            the spring
of my silence continues and shrugs
as a coat thrown onto a mattress over
and over again

so in evening dice are hurled at the wall
and not counted

and returning       unable to touch the seam          
of the window
but shattering the glass

never am i wanting for a kind of
seafoam summer on a pendulum

opening my purse to straws
white strands       their long coats

then wearing a towel into another
apartment where his hands are
on me his hands are off me

yes       disrobed i am still a room quiet




All of these poems were built out of a misunderstanding or misreading of another person. I find it interesting that humans can speak to each other plainly while having muddied intentions. Or can speak to something besides their intentions. Then I am left, generally, with image rather than story. Or the story is muddied.