Four Poems

by Keller Perliss


Mustangs in the Snow

               For Julie D.
The pump and thunder of the herd
thrushing on honed hooves
Without saddle
Without rider
Without reins;
No buck without the bully;
Without pommel
Without bit
Without, without.
Not Hector, nor Nestor, nor John Grady Cole
could break that thing which moves unseen.


Maria of the Moon

The full moon's Maria tease untaunting
Through my window of sleep
When the day's done talking
In codes noisy as we are,
Confusing my crown to blend
Between mountain and lowland--
Marbling and mottling Maria!
It is not your light that seeps,
But a reflection of the sun's balking
Through my bedroom window with a leak.
Alive when asleep, I'll be thrust
Above numb with a shove
By hands from behind logic's must,
Before clear becomes the picture
I can see but never touch--
A riddle without a clutch.
Lenses by the lamp, Maria mist and blur,
They float before my dreams in puddles of
Imagined moisture, but they're dry, dry as dust
In the corner of an old and latent love.
mare n. (pl. maria) Astronomy. a large, level basalt plain or the surface of the moon, appearing dark by contrast with highland areas.


Living With My Husband
     (Everywhere I go)

Noise of a scarred arm over breasts.
Noise of smoking oil on a hot pan.
Noise of bazooka mucus in the bathroom.
Noise of i do noise of i want.
Noise of threats,
Noise of hate,
Noise of a moment's heat.
Noise of truth.
Noise of stomach,
Noise of unopened emails,
Noise of living.
Noise of concern.
Noise of my husband
Fucking someone else.
Dr Nash says,
Auditory hallucinations affect the mind as
the mind affects auditory hallucinations.
He says,
Hallucinations come from the same place as
and certain emotive experiences.
Dr Nash says,
We will have goals
and one of them will be to speak
outside of associations and inside
pragmatic clauses; logic and reason, subject and verb.
I say, But Husband dead.
We are to meet next Thursday at noon.
Noise of waiting.


While You Were Away

i ate the turkey and
i ate the cheese,
i ate the pizza and
i ate the beans
in the chili you made two tuesdays ago
on a strangely cold night
with peppers that make the skin on 
your nose wet.
i saw the happy lines of other women's
pants and stared at their chests,
thought i saw the things behind their
i pulled myself in front of a screen
where a woman who wouldn't see me
showed me the sound of
i learned the orgasm can be a liar,
                                                   a terrific liar.
and even then, that's not the truth, not quite,
and if honesty were truth,
every pearl slopped from head out my
face would be a virtue.


Copyright © 2018 by Keller Perliss

Keller Perliss could last afford rent for one in the Loring Park neighborhood of Minneapolis many years ago.