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  • Featuring:
  • Culliton
  • Edwards
  • Hoffman
  • Gordon
  • Mayes
  • Sharkey
  • Skoog
  • Twemlow
  • Wade
  • Wong

Volume 6, No. 2

From Intentions
Lee Sharkey

Intentions (1) In the beginning was the hand, and the hand was good Celan says there's no difference between a handshake and a poem The hand has a tendency to close around the palm, flatbread and goat cheese, prayer beads extracted at the checkpoint The mouth may say, What am 1 doing here what am I doing here but the hand is curious, it learns with the fingertips My hand remembers fingering the rosary, frisson of apostasy, enchanted circuit of witless penance At this moment, everywhere, the hand is touching the forbidden The head shies off but five witnesses compel the hand to tell Intentions (2) In your quarters, the fatigues of a dead terrorist are speaking seeds birds carry off into the terebinth Just now you were watching the sun set into undulant dunes fire surrounded A monstrous and original danger, and the dunes and the glimmering sea All the boys looked so sad, so very sad, so at a loss to understand what was wanted of them Inside every house was a world, walls you could pass through Life and the after-life waved white rags Everyone aimed for the legs or the chest to express intimate relationship Windows and widows. Confirm kill You fashion a counterpart, fatigues and an after-opening to deepen your translation Words sound silently—um/ima, bayt/bayit Intentions (3) The time came to place themselves in harm's way but just how were they to do this In another country they might step out in front of a Caterpillar, paint blue butterfly wings on their breasts and march on the capital but in their country earwigs spiraled down the cochlea eating the thought that grows on the walls of the labyrinth and dreams wept I'm so lost One dream cut to the chase, a jet-eyed dancer, right arm stretched, index extended in the Sistine gesture, created a dream arm and a meeting of fingertips Intentions (4) The lintel barely four feet high. Five paces across a dirt-floored entry A single room six meters square, tipping in every direction from the center She sits by a table adjusting her bunched wool stockings, their red softened by sun and repeated washing Asks, Are there any like me in America? I lean toward her to hear her story when remembrance grips her and she arrives there Sometimes the interpreter seems transparent As if words entered the body directly as if I simply understood She feeds me soup, irrevocable hunger. Unearths her fear, imperishable seed This is my purse. I put away my camera Those of us who are leaving thread the path along the river