you could pick any branch and designate a river. with deft hands.





The train takes a sharp corner against the building oblique. Then, submersed in darkness and successive demarcations of time. There’s movement, but only inside here. The rattling fuselage downing itself repetitively across the stops, as its silhouette spreads taking in the glittering trashed alleys and squat brick complex, floated melding with the depth pummeling. The light passes in & out. The rivers’ impassive sheet faces Chicago streets darkly pass-on.

Every human being on the risen train is an overbrimming vessel for light, but I’m reading Clarice Lispector and writing my dead letters to aliens. If you can’t breath, then drink from my neck. I’m drinking back the ossifying home I carried here through the melody of a song I play again & again &

I try not to lose its thread. In Denver, beside a sputtering of gravelled rockbed & twisty cacti, I’m reading the poem about the pigs of the body’s trough. Update, refresh, same page I thought I’d already written this down how can it comeback? Bachelard is using his ghost-mystery fingers to locate the creaking inside stunted objects, these flowers might be alien grafts, stuck shut in spraypainted neon residues. The dusk solemnly flutters down, enrapturing red and blue transitions states.   

With dexterity I learn I’m the only one in here, following my own tracks through the mountain snow. I, too, arise and take off toward the car, lock the engine in turmoil and jerk forward. The tumbling-paced softens as I merge onto the interstate, merge right here, like a burbling river benediction, I already told you I left myself behind it. I scream at the green coat shocking the valleys, smoothly delving towards the suddenly craggy peaks. Automatic questions the words leave my lips before I understand.

Specter like shadows. I’m plumbing them—this land is of the Arapaho tribe.

Terrifyingly slender blond bodies occupy it in workout clothes I never see you do you see me? Pumping music from a shoulder band, the park defaults to the neoclassical, iconic columns we’ve seen before? An exhausted cloud, the premonition of living undergrounds. Startlingly clear, a light falling behind dreams.  






Jessica K Baer received their MFA from Brown University in 2017. They were born in GA and grew up beneath southern power plants. They have a poetry chapbook with Magic Helicopter Press (Holodeck One, 2017), a science fiction chapbook with Essay Press (At One End, 2020), and a full-length with Apocalypse Party (Midwestern Infinity Doctrine, 2021). They have been included in journals such as Prelude, Pinwheel, Bathhouse, Baest, The Tiny, and Bone Bouquet. They love horses.