Neck Minus Puncture

Unceasingly I have remained
unwittingly followed by salivating
trees that stretch across the landscape
like pieces of taffy              able if I may
to inspire respiration      the highest form
love can take      Camus claims that
meaning persists in whatever keeps you
breathing     I suffer not 
to suffer another    verdant cough
across the ashenland        that’s scope
mouthwash    not viewpoint
but the gaze keeps me humble
brambles fill my mouth      shouts
record breaking glass       I toast
to glow rowing away into the night
flighty little trinkets in my periphery
like lightning bugs alighting on
bobby pin thin wires that send sound
through them                     I’m a peripheral
dot on the landscape but a hot one
to the touch and gather raspberries
in my left hand just to inhale the fur
and exhale pinkish air     and for me
that’s enough to keep beating and slinking
into town in and as a slip dress silky
I wonder about forever       the black soap
of the cosmos swallowing a hand a foot
alone in the river       it whets me into
tool      exacto motions as a dance
I lance across my teeth for better
measure     there’s nothing more
than the inverse of breath whichever
you prefer as leader      a peacock
has like a straw so much room
for narrowly escaping death each
time it caws      do I litter when I
catch myself falling      from love
into that elusive revolt?

Ellen Boyette received her MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a recipient of the Alberta Kelly Fellowship as well as a Teaching-Writing Fellowship. Her first manuscript of poetry, BEDIEVAL, was a finalist for the 2019 Slope Editions Book Prize, judged by Solmaz Sharif. Her work appears or is forthcoming from jubilat, The Columbia ReviewDenver Quarterly, Ninth Letter, Prelude, Bennington Review, New Delta Review, poets.org, Tagvverk,  and elsewhere.