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2 poems by Maya Stahler

Mystery meat

mary under a laurelled pine


my hands wet with beige milk

a girl body by the skin

blue pearl toes seeding

in a cashberry grove full of love

drip drill with a wooden knife

animal style, mary hymns

through a smoker’s hole

I blew up my face with a sawed-off

got lapis, butter on the mosses

woodpeckers find a tulle of hair and slur

my pieces make me sad as I bite in

the grove that breeds west fox

kits oranging before reddening

I used to know how to tell time

my nines my sevens my eights

plump cigarette inchworms drawed

out old february by the smell of new food

when I go out I dress up like I’m lithe

take all the things given and pocket

I keep my pieces in a box by the gate

Laplace’s demon has beautiful hair

on the tops of his

thighs navel gazing against

the heat of the conventional oven.

Something, no, January.

Drawing out ear wax with

the slow curve

of a pocket knife flick.

He leans up,

plucks an almond

from the keydish

knuckle zippo and push

out to the trailer porch.

An american flag windsock

once so red now

pink salt ash lashes

his hands the cigarette.

He stands beside the wood

marvelous the gravel

a stretch of road leading

to the 101 and then the water.

Stepping over splinterings

and onto the pale sea brush

he kicks mud off the side

Brown eyes a flake of paint

gunshy like a dog

The sound of the sirens

by the water by the street.

He shuffles back inside,

his hands the cigarette.

Raced up cedar panels

his thumb in a stye of wood

the cat pawing at the portable

crucifix atop the pile

of tv guides and coupon savers

the wax it likes to teeth

and him throned in polyester

quiet aglow quiet aglow

he flicks the lighter

catch shag that sweet hair.

I was a liar.

At the payphone,

I was a liar.


Maya Stahler is a poet from Oregon who is an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her most recent work appears/is forthcoming in Longleaf Review, Squawk Back, Dialogist, and elsewhere. 


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