Home PageArchivesVolume no. 5Issue 1Poetry: francine j harris


francine j. harris


                                                        Down in dirt under dirt  with  silk  and  the  dirt
                                                        and  the pillow dressed and  the  air  slips.  And
                                                        the   legs   stiffen   and   pin.   Not  a  time   for a
                                                        mouth,   but   still   gaped   open,   muffled   up,
                                                                                       among    the   breath    and   its
                                                        not  close   enough  to  the  worm,   the  beetle,
                                                        scented   soil   to  a  quick  lung.   but   encased.
                                                        The dung and rat, would better company, cold
                                                        mud, faster.  But the hell of rationed
                                                                      gasp. o, enough

                            to wake sudden. and suffocate. Enough wait to startle a night
                                                                                    at the throat, a heavy hang
              under the hangar of earth, and what done to deserve the dense plates of monoxide covering
lips and ringing
                                                        women who become less maiden, and men less
against the roof’s catch. the claw hysteric, as pant and wail, still warm
                            but crushed ton below heaped mud on collapsed chest. If only that.

or air.
                            What panic makes. when forced to flail and break.


a new fragrance.

francine j. harris


you can’t pronounce. where the lapse in reason is the turn of a musth. breaking up the bed.
sweat. catch at the end of a nightstand. it’s in the sweaty flowers. it’s in the linen. careful
what you sand away from the wood. careful with the lemons. [his unzipper] his soft place
strap. he has turned away and stayed. but mark it against you. market lover. design wool
air. strong against what’s left. husk over marble, over leather crush. in washer bins. in
tossed sheets, elastic. the endless glove. briefly soft. midtown cotton [estranged] beyond
collar. underneath seat, dug up. in cushions where he sat, carved. grass rooted in stain
on floor. awl until it breathes. back it to a dressing room window, to seat a cut away.
it’s a buyer’s river. long to a vast tweed. gabardine loop around its empty neck. a signature
scruff. nothing to note. nothing to collar, to cuff. a blank, suede mold. a mannequin cheek.



(logically unconstrained of ideas; patient’s articulation)

francine j. harris


kid is like kid. kid is burnt hair. kid

              is terribly confusable with (don’t come home. unclaimed. sitting, in closet boards.

sniffling blister. kid is someone else’s

                            goat. snot.     mustard stain.

                                                                               [baseball mitt. a while of knit blanket.]

              kid is small.     kid is cake pan. head like melon. head like clay plate.

                            kid belittle.     kid-a-ride. take kid, add per cent to the bill. take kid add

                                          percent to waste. to carbon. take kid, subtract planet. take kid,

                                                                                                              housing. subtract. subtract.


francine_j_harrisfrancine j. harris’ first collection, “allegiance,” reached the number one spot on the national poetry bestseller’s list and was a finalist for the 2013 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and ForeWord Reviews’ Book of the Year. Originally from Detroit, she is a Cave Canem fellow and is the Front Street Writers Writer-in-Residence in Traverse City, Mich., for the 2013/14 school year.

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