SEAFARING SPLIT, 2016 poetry chapbooks by Jessica Q. Stark and Kiley McLaughlin

Gizzard Stones

Loose pet alligators
have been eating the
neighborhood cats
for years And here is
a campanile for
haggard ants and
here is a steeple
for geese gaggle
waiting in the dark
for their time to flee.
How large is the
stone left for
the slightly
to seek.
Where will you be
when I realize
(without verity)
that I am in love
with the dark ages
awake in the
afterbirth of
unsung heroes
I am getting off
on upcoming
tax breaks
and exit signs
on comparing
the design of whole
islands washed
ashore at the feet
of high-rise buildings
storing cocaine bricks
mistaken for waste.
In another company
they are staying true
to their market value
selling spiritual
creatures out of
the back of
windowless vans.
Small gods now valued
by talons still
wreaking havoc
in the head shelves
of some would-be
It isn’t he
who speaks for us
when there aren’t
enough superheroes
in the sky to alter
the forecast of
streetlamps going out
by the dozens each year.
It isn’t he
who is rounding up
these creatures
that are learning
to climb and love
and speak.
Unbeknownst to
their solitary and
territorial nature
we are working
under cement
through dawn.
An entire cache busy
planting roots
for a wilder fleet
in search for
rougher planets
to tame and till.
And “godspeed”
means more than
you can understand.
For down the block
they are sharpening
knives preparing
for the next round
of taming the hedge
and the last time
(still fresh under
fingernails and
they cut away
whole branches
around our
and roofs
How our
great pillars stood
for months
before the next breed
of parabronchi
Grinning at the
presence of trees
made static that once
shook with fury:
reminders of our slight
place in the cul-de-sac
kept under
machinery at the
close of day
We say
let them slice
let them listen
to the hailing
wind that drowns
out the work of
dead arms
unfurling entire
galaxies below
our skeletal


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