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Alexandra Howes


Photo of reading at celebration...nel tempo de li dèi falsi e bugiardi.*

Elysian Fields are built by human men.
An avenue of igneous asphalt,
brown brick and mortar rise from careless con-
crete buffeted and bruised from crane and drill.

Rich luxury presented in geo-
metric form, curving hills and vales absent.
The river full of silty souls nearby
flows forgetfulness downward, like Lethe.

And Socrates waits for the scholars lost
who pay their entrance. Checks and loans bankèd
by scoundrels who would dwell in eastern halls
to dole out debt in promissory notes.  

Oblivion awaits in money lent,
to eliminate how life should be spent.

* the day of the false gods who lied.  (Canto I, 50)



The sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body and the strength employed in movement.

Lungs, diaphragm intact
disconnect from a fist,
a blunt echo.

The diaphragm caught first
between operation and malformed motion;
catching in the limbo of its function.

The lungs scream, crepitations, wonder
why its sister ceases to work, to flex
a fortification of oxygen to blood on hold.

The stuttering sister,
bisects the body at its core,
leaves the carrier prone and hunched,
cradling the flesh. While inside,
the organs dance: stricken,
interrupted in position and purpose.

Gasping, choking, wheezing, gulping
through the oral cavity,
as oxygen travels down tracheal pathways,
bisects to the bronchi.
Rhythm returns, slowly:
in seconds,
or minutes,
or hours,
in actuality,
a breath.