Switchback Books
Brandi Homan's Pick:

Twilight Rooms

Rest, I need to rest. Why don't these pills help me rest?

My body carves scrimshaw as it writhes through liquid dreams. If I can shape the bed
I can rest. My bones will turn to driftwood soon enough.

I wish I didn't loathe the bed. I hate its magnetism. How it becomes
A roughly hewn canoe no matter how I try. Floating me to the country of

Hemorrhaging night, despite my kicks and thunder. To watch retreating faces
Of the steam trains blur. Where cattle prophesize the fate of cattle cars

And pillows still pretend to be good parents. Rest my pretties. Follow the goose
Down. Their children later hate them for their lies: Mom, I need the pretty rest.

Day and again, I awoke ripped as a raped skirt. Ran for the fabled yurt of the mind
Heeled by dogs that frightened me. There was no roundhouse there, but a roofless planetarium

And seven sisters smoking, biding time until the formaldehyde lung. They said:
We have to breathe and smoke someone. We are the heavens.

My cells were stalling at the venous switchback like a mob. And they
Were right about the government, but I couldn't help it. I had died in many cities

And spoke only in malapropisms. My blood gets very little brain these days. My
Illness is like mono all the time. A lot like being alone.

Hung and drained of blood. Hung and drained and needing
To acquire food. Cannibalizing the tongue. Saying "my body" as a malapropism.

Anarchy feels fleetingly good. And then a flag is stitched
From tattooed grafts of sailor skin. The Mother cells yearn for the ocean.

Elected hands carve Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria of ivory myths for disinfected bodies.
To discover what already is. This is my story: I awoke in the labyrinth

Knives make. My gums bled with angry scurvy. I needed C but here,
We don't get letters. The dove came with my skin in his teeth. I was supposed to love its

Promise of tangible conquest. But I had stayed awake in dreams so long
I could not want hard consonants. I yearned for wordless sleep to be enough,

To know that I could leave/return and be a contrast medium:
My skeleton unburied yet (the breaks we heal), my own renascent vessel.