Push number four because the stairs are murder: a crooked rattle-
snake spine, windows painted shut, walls twice papered over,
built into catacombs you’re sure they know by heart: busted hall
lights & pitch dark landings, cul-de-sacs colored a murderous
Assuage their vanity with tools of
rhetoric and anything
they pay to hear; sacrifice
the flesh as a halal butcher
to a commercial god.
My love for you continues to this day.
With our photographs and history I stay.
Writing stories of our life together
keeps me brave: Alive, and feeling better.
On evenings filled with rain the elephants
believe my open door leads to a green stretch
of forest and trundle through.
Each concocts a song or howl of her own—
a moan of bassoon, a pitch of piccolos
and even agonies of strings to tell of elephant
tragedies coated in silt.
Choose life until your last breath.
Choose life until you hear the Other calling.
Choose life while the lights are on and your eyes still focus.
Choose life while your heart beats out your days.
Choose life while your mind still has questions.
Choose life until you must, for intensely personal reasons,
Blacken trod the rain splashed souls,
Amber throbs the heart within.
Opener of darkened doors.
Spine of a dog curves away from me and against, as heat
of a tired dog warms my skin through my sweater, through his fur.
He lies, front paws matched, chin tucked alongside them, neat.
One still beast; one, antsy with pen at arm’s end, cramming
the months and years and lives with rehearsals, games, dinners—
Though Carol Guess has been in the lit world for some time, her latest project Doll Studies: Forensics immediately grabbed my attention because of the unique subject matter. It isn’t every day you stumble upon a book of prose poetry that focuses on 18 dioramas of actual crime scenes…