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Daniel Khalastchi


The Maturation Of Man:

Because     rain.  Because  hard.  Because
pain   in my     ribs,  because     buckle and
wait.  Because      cramping.  Because  
kneeling    low. Because pause.  Because
fact.  Because    wings        unreel       the  flat 
spread of  my  stomach.  Because     feathers.  Because 
damp.  Because red,                white, 
because loose the skin      falls to all-     pile my 
shoes.    Because shirt.  Because   torn.  Because 
buttons un-      done,  because    chest a pale
fire.  Because     calm.  Because     thinking
through.   Because    steady.    Because focused.  Because 
bones                     straighten,       retract     in a
fold.  Because      movement.  Because   pushing
out.  Because stretch,    because reach,       because weak  
the growth  spreads like         sick sheets      on a   line.  Because    
quiet.  Because    broken    down.   Because   phone
calls,              mothers,    because      children  scream
softly they         still want  to     touch me.     Because    
sirens.    Because      cameras and  tanks.   Because there
is      no  choice but       to head     for  the  hills.     Because
terror.  Because      running     scared.   Because     breathe,   because
breathe,   because spasms,            beats.        Because    from a bench I
step    to the air—      watch      as  my                 city 
folds           down    to a circle.

Audible Retraction:

In the hayloft of a neighbor’s
barn,        I am         just   a      
torso.  Propped up against the
bailing doors, I stare at four
limbs laid out before me: a
child’s  arm,  the  leg  of  a  
rabbit,  two twitching fins in
varying                 stages of         
decay.  Although I’m unsure, 
a letter I find indicates they’ll
work if I can somehow get
them attached.       Leaning
forward,  I  throw  back  my
weight in an attempt to lessen
the blow.       Using only my
pectorals and chin, I rock my
way   across   the   plywood  
floor.  Splinters in my chest
sledge to              keep me    
awake.  Throughout the day,  
I hear horses below nicker
while  they’re  watered  and  
fed.      By nightfall,    I’ve  
covered  what  I  assume  is
eleven yards.  This close, I  
see now the limbs are fitted
with  color-coded      thread 
bolts.  I’ll sleep here.  In the
morning I’ll call for help and
when no one answers I’ll  
hold  with  my  mouth stale
flesh in my teeth and screw in
whatever’s in reach. 

Went We.  Inside.  My Colon A Tree: (Diagnosis)

Went we.  Inside.  My       colon a tree.  Broom heavy with        light.  With    heavy cut   leaves left.  Standing               the spill of.  My levee.  My                leaving.  My find     young              ulcers.  Tall kicking              in.  Skirts.  Legs    white.   High      stockings stored.  Up   low were my.  Enzymes.  And you.       Curtained the.   Colon.  Red    salad    your.  Shoulder.  So long.  So   roll.  So     still we waited I.   Was dis-    eased  clean.  Under   my sternum.    Here        was the.  Mandarin.     Orange deep water breath     here.    Was  the steady fed.    Crate where they    saw through the    inside of    this.  Hot future to get    it.  Out.  Get it out.  Get.  It.  Out.  


My  left  wrist  is  tied  to  a
bumper.  My right, to a horse
drinking water.  The car and 
the  animal  face  opposite
directions.      There are two
women with flags raised high
in the night.  The engine revs
and the horse is mounted by a
jockey.   Counting down from
ten,  the  girls  heavy  their
breath.  The  moon  is  hidden 
by lights from a city.   When
we start to pull away, even I
am excited.

        - all of these poems appear in Manoleria
      "The Maturationof Man" first apeared in Kenyon Review;
        "Went We, Inside" first appeared in Thermos and the anthology Disco Prairie Social Aid
               and Pleasure Club, Factory Hollow Press
       "Manoleria" also first appeared in Thermos

Listen to "Went we Inside..."


Purchase "Manoleria" here


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