By Rich Ives

The end of a century flipping like a calendar number,

and here I am kissing a short squat building where

everyone says hello, and no one recognizes me.


Upstairs there are families I once lived in, but

pawnshops have moved in like stray cats. In the garden,


rhizome dreams borrow the curiosity from a stare,

sending up tomorrow as a stalk and teaching it to listen.



My understanding’s been slapped floppy like a hammer

of ancient turnips. I’m never primitive enough for

its leaf flaps opening at the stem like ripe rhubarb.


Yesterday’s growing stones from abandoned silverware and tinsel,

her letters of gaunt apology awkward, malnourished, earthy,


her forthcoming bricks recited more aggressively (the missing snout).

Gone, all gone, in retirement and steam and the simple rainfall.


Why It Still Seems to Make Sense


boat smash house

house haphazard

belonging to sky


sky signals falling

sky brings down logic

logic fits into smashed


details like nails

arrive to confiscate



appearances depart

one by one belonging

to fallen in stage fright


nearly isn’t there yet

actors inadequate to

real people playing them


real people playing them

inadequate to the boat

which is their belonging


it sails like a broken tear

reasonably down the hammer

toward the nail house


house smash boat

boat belonging reasonably

to the freshly fallen sky


signals then details like returning

like haphazard belonging to

the logical tearing nail


then we go home to

the invisible boat which is

still acting like ourselves


Rich Ives is a winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander and the 2012 winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. Tunneling to the Moon, a book of days with a work for each day of the year, is available from Silenced Press, Sharpen, a fiction chapbook, is available form Newer York Press, Light from a Small Brown Bird, a book of poems, is available from Bitter Oleander Press, and his story collection, The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking, is now available from What Books.