The Etiquette of Romance


There's always hope
that the bird will fly again.
I see a winged shadow rising
sideways up the wall.

The final date
is a large hard-bound volume.
If you come to me in the evening
I will collaborate with you
on a macro-character description.
Walls intact
we subdue the gelatinous
substances to a sequential form of behold --
--No conclusion is possible.

(Oh fiery bearded goddess pressed
on the western sky, uphold some continuity--)
I suffer discomfort prior to drying.

The dissecting tools consist of
a finely beaded glass needle,
and a glass microscope slide.
It could take days to recover

consolation. The absence
of a discernible
confrontation line
throws our distinguishing features
on the granular movie surface.

The large characters formerly used in moral identification
have been greatly reduced in significance.

I open my mouth and anything falls out.
Mad paper dolls, scissors, gleaming teeth
saved in a glass jar, a clot
of blood. Things shift out of focus.
Is this fever?

Little holes in my skin where the tools
have entered. A scar at the bottom of your face.

Forms are required by social convention
rules fulfill decorum.

I elongate the subject, re-arrange the ribs
and shape, to make the argument seem conical.

From inside the vortex I point
but your shadow escapes
over the outside wall.

Gulls hang on the sky.
Sixty-five percent chance of rain.

Down the stairs at high noon
soft soles on pavement
rip open the day.

"I will go now and buy wine to make me feel good.
Then I will sit on the lawn and write
my poison essay,"

It begins: "Crossing a bridge in the dark. . ."



Johanna Jordahl

read the author's Bio and Working Notes
go to For the rest of it, or Walls
go to this issue's table of contents