Table of Contents



JoAnna Novak

Wherein I'll chew calcified dainties & address
my recent proclivity for living the dead, home
grown & headband-bound with those white
gauze guides to life: a bit unfit, a little
too lascivious—she wanted, she suffered—
throats & apertures, composed & shot.

I mean, just look at her. There's bloodshot
eyes & that unraveling ravishment, undressing
all hours of the night, raised rumor-suffering,
café curtains studded with blood-red homes.
One at a time, the living start to look a little
more like a box of unmentionables. White

between the fingers, racing hearts gulping white
air—when it's invisible, it's all the rage, one shot
to test her tolerance for analgesics, days littered
with useful secrets & let's get boned dressed
up like other people. One night we stayed home,
got a little high, & she orgasmed into suffering.

No one ate pineapple or crullers. We just suffered
through a can of peaches in syrup, tap water white-
clouded & tinny. The movie where the lady's home
vendettas act in curious ways: the animals are shot
standing. The tulips ooze yellow pus. Boys dressed
for debauch, delirious in the datura & just a little

too dreamy-eyed over leaving Christchurch sans little
trumpets, spiny fruit, & a single evening of sexless suffering
in the bush. It was one of those nights without address,
landmark, or catcall & she launched into lording white
elephants out back—but, then maybe my shot's
off, maybe she was dishabille & crumby, homesick

for one roomful of revenants. This was the last home
without sores. The prize driveway, scoured-shoal, lit
by luminaries. She said time's right for God's shot
glass. Our final holiday season pre-price suffering
adjustments, gifted malaise—a lot of pearly whites
bared amidst a village haunting where undressing

addresses our homes of Christmas past,
little white doves arcing through golden
velum shot with starburst punches & suffering.