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I have graven you upon
the surface, jigsawn,
sown with moon,
of lake, of lack, of
light beyond
your signature, your I
and oh a vertigo
of dashes spilt and split
unhinging at the lee
of a canoe and there,
in situ, space: its mirror
zero cups its hands
around your face—

an heirloom linking
O and I have pressed
a chain into your palms
and bound you
as a book, a binary,
a proof of light, devout,
unraveling its particle
from moon to lake,
a span as fleeting
as the second
just before a second
thought, a doubt.



I’ll tell you a story, a ship.
Its umbilical wake is endless
behind us, a spoor of days.
I threw a bucket overboard.
I climbed in the bucket
and dashed myself on the water
like bait. My debris wove itself
in dreams: into land. Into carpet,
firm to the foot. Then less,
wool unraveling, a cap floating,
tipped to salute the evening
when it came. Weeks passed.
We played cards. We told stories
to forget we were lost. Beyond,
the sea: a property of light.
Light purchased my blood
and fertilized its blue-green field.
Look overboard: chrysanthemums
bloom bedlam in the manger:
each little mane an endless scalp
spread underwater, where
horses kick their hooves
and gnash their ropes of kelp.


Laura Bylenok is the author of Warp, which won the 2015 T. S. Eliot Prize and is forthcoming from Truman State University Press, and the hybrid prose chapbook a/0 (DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as Ninth Letter, Pleiades, North American Review, Guernica, and West Branch, among others. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah, where she is also new media editor for Quarterly West.