Breadcrumb #486

JACKIE ANDERSON

In the forestry, my mother would build
litttle cobby houses from empty cans,
all moss and aluminum, the floor
made of orange peels from Sunday dessert

If she could build it, she could escape to it

More metal and flowerless plants:
next to fern and broken lorries
as a factory girl, each evening,
she stuck her thumb out.

Even the men from the village
who picked her up and
kneaded at her thighs knew:
she will one day build her own island.

Blueprints that came from holding her breath in a tractor
while it flattened the bog, the windows damp,
inhaling her father’s tobacco in a locked closet,
or falling backwards into a bucket of boiling water

In those moments, when she dissolved,
she decided to start building, told herself
“you could float through metal
if you’re promised your own final spring”

Sometimes she asks me about the taste in her mouth,
she’s swallowed flintstone and peat,
but cannot scrape it off
with our tools or a prayer,

I take her hands in mine and braid our fingers together;
I make tiny little islands with our knuckles;
here we grow our own trees

• • •

Breadcrumb #484

JORDAN E. FRANKLIN

After Peter Gabriel

I want contact

and his songs are like praying  
and the answer afterwards. For

me, Gabriel is Brooklyn airbrushed with stars, a car’s ignition
running over miles of Flatbush streets quieting and I’m
in the backseat, safe, the radio low, looking

out the window as the moon strikes the trees’ crowned fore-
heads like matches the wind can’t put out. There is a
lyric molting in my mouth—the sweetest spark.

Wanting contact

As my tongue is wrestled to the chorus,
his blue-eyed soul is loose like my hands. Any-
thing can slip here. There’s always a chance

to escape my body when he sings. I mimic the collision
of meaning. I tap the beat into my skin like tattoos and
watch the cricket legs of my fingers shed. I
want to lose my hands. I want my head to light
      up

the streetlamp of my spine, my mouth in
perfect lockstep with the verses. Gabriel, the
magician, his chanting like heavy machines in the dark.

Nothing else seems to please

until the song ends.

• • •

Breadcrumb #481

CHELSEA FONDEN

you wanted
a propeller with tiny shoulders,
a fury stirred with purpose, unwrecked
winter light 

did i ever earn the right
to enjoy the fruits
or the labor, participation
trophy lips
and hands like spades

convincing
you i loved you
was like underwater breathing—
a pterodactyl scared and flailing,
picture
the sound that would make

 one day i’ll have a spaceship
in my wallet,
a love
deep-creased from unfolding 

when i recall our monsters
i think of alligator waters,
a banner unfurling
in rented wind

there’s no gingerbread trail, but
what i’m saddest about
is the way you clothes-lined, gray and
giving up the fight

• • •

Breadcrumb #479

MEGHANN PLUNKETT

August in southern Illinois & we are drunk
    on everything but worry.  The tin boat we rented rocks
        under our recreation. Plastic wine glasses & gasoline

from the engine casting a rainbow across the man-made
    lake.  Boredom or something more brought us here
        to float on cotton candy inner tubes, a plastic unicorn

with a dumb cartoon eye toddles under my naked thighs,
    flank up to the fleshy sun. Look at how we are not animals -
        our teeth gnashing in fits of laughter,

my two hands crumbling a bag of potato chips.
    What we have evolved to: our lips puckering
        around a neon candy, our sunglasses skewing

the world darker.  & these two rocky bluffs,
    jutting out like an underbite, are a sharp surprise
        in between parched farmland.

When we arrived, a small printed plaque told us
    that the rocks were formed from glaciers.
        Water dripping for billions of years

just to bounce our base music back to us.
    Our small bluetooth speaker humming
        atop nylon & fiberglass.

& the state paid for this sulphur-dry earth
    to be dredged & filled with muddy water.
        Shadows of fish here & there

dumped weekly by Park Rangers just so
    twice-divorced fisherman can reel them in,
        pretending a kind of wildness.

& the birds chirp so loudly
    we think it is the ding ding
        ding of our phones.

& they find us
    large turkey vultures whooping
        down from the cliffs,

& we are blissed,  motionless, a beer bottle
    tipping in a limp wrist– our text messages
        whimpering out now & again

as these birds circles our plump bodies- waiting,
    waiting. They think we are dead,
        or that we may die very soon.

• • •