archives spring 2008



it comes around again

it comes around again.  dullness, reverberation, this act of repetition.
however, ochre and eggplant, blooming in small circles,
tiny and beautiful, a wish a dream a scene.  my last thought was your
yelling. but were you, on the corner yelling, or was that the fact of
the earth coming back around again in the morning— where i remember
your arm heavy on my arm and hurting a bit but not in a way that would
cause protest or movement, but just a crease that could be the sheet
pressing skin for all i know—the way the mind folds when it wants too
much, or uses too much of itself, ugly and lonely and pink, smashed
between paper in a textbook or pressed into a jar, laboratory.  pink-
flecked electricity, rubbery and small. 

or you could’ve been yelling after all, your hands in your pocket where
i couldn’t see them.  that makes sense.  i’ve always frustrated things.
i think there was a light behind you and i crossed my legs to put my
toe in your shadow. 

i remember when your glasses made a crease in the side of my face
and then i imagined you crying because it was impossible to think you
would, but i wanted to feel salt, along w/ the crease that you
made. and the blood is still filling in that space on my cheek and it
tingles w/ every year since, w/ its filling back up.

the texture of the face in sleep is gelatinous but powder. boiled bones
and hope.  i walk over the same floor boards each evening and there are
times when i cross my legs to make shadows. maybe to say loss or maybe
to say love i really don’t know


loneliness: cross-reference

the avenue is wide and flat
dotted with early morning traffic and birds
the nail salon on the corner is closed
a man walks to the stoplight w/ bread in a plastic bag.
we sit in front of the laundromat
warm drinks in our hands
we lean against the plate glass
and make shapes with our breath.

inside it is humid and noisy
out here, cold—a siren, somewhere—
we are far from museums and coffee shops
here in the neighborhood where you
were a child, where your mother put you
in braids and kneesocks, where you
drew pictures with chalk on the sidewalk:
sweeping lines, people with small bodies
and large heads, dinosaurs, and fire trucks

out here we laugh at being adult
as your work clothes make steamed, wet circles
through the clamped windows of the machines
we laugh at how far apart we are
how our age has made us smaller
and bitter around the edges—
you put your hand on my face
and tease me for never leaving the place where we
became friends

i have nothing to say—
there is knocking at the window behind us
a child with juice at the corners of her mouth
braids and glasses, holding a rounded book,
presses her hand against the glass.
she is wearing a small, gold ring.
you turn around and open your palm,
strip off your glove
and flatten your hand against hers
next door to us, a man unlocks the metal door
to his bodega.


the men laugh outside the gate

the men laugh outside the gate. the cold of the night is an inscrutable veranda, caught on videotape. rewound and rewritten.  the long dark plank of sky muted by the noise of light from the city is either loneliness or independence, a perfect day.  you might call the police because you’re afraid of the voices in the alley, afraid they might be your own.  mind calling back to itself with the electricity that only the friction of their laughter creates.  what is it? you ask from your bed.  what is it?  your voice is the next step of waiting, the atomized ring of the stove warming up, warming wood.  the house lights up with your voice and all others remain outside. 


monotony’s resurrection

a comma a serenade a swell a comma a skin a curve a biceps a glass a bow a comma puddle a leaf a mirror a blanket a glass a line a curve a light a comma

a grey mirror a defeated call home a pair of glasses a forwarded address a black dress a broken bell a blue light a room full of lanterns


she paid the cashier in change

she paid the cashier in change . . . a big bag of coins:  a lesson from petals

minutiae, she touches my forehead w/ her finger and it’s cold again music in our ears and wind in our noses it is winter again and we talk about it as if it never happened before—
this cold

ness this feeling of things moving beneath our feet and what is it?  this movement and petals underground.  waiting for sidewalks to become pliable and for there to be something more than wind and moss. 


Liz Canfield received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2001.  She presently teaches freshman composition and women’s studies courses at VCU.  Because she is passionate about independent publishing and bookselling, she organizes a reading series for Chop Suey Books, in addition to other community workshops and events that pertain to independent publishing, zines, and activism. Most recently, she has published poems in thINK, a handmade letterpress chapbook.