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The Killing Time

by J. Mae Barizo

A hindsight of blood.

The sill with its speck of ash: who smoked

there? Tea on the lip as

a forgetting of another endeavor.

Red: aligning quietly on the eaves

or beneath the skin: articulate, articulate.

The dream of the wheel, bird

sounds, red of the hip

like a wrist corsage.


Snow under the hand, a different kind of muteness.

Something you once belonged to, the lines smudged.

In the other memory the severed arm speaks.

In the other memory it is as silent as snow.


In the transient form

everything subject to question.

A tilt, a bruise.

Later on, the killing time.


Next to your eye, a door.

Next to your door, a vestibule.

Next to your vestibule, it opens.

Now give me your mouth—


In the study of distance

everything meets the eye

as pool blue.

A cool light, undecided, comes

over the mountain.

The cloudswift sky unbuttons.

Everything remembers everything.


J. Mae Barizo’s first book, The Cumulus Effect, is forthcoming in 2015 from Four Way Books. She is a 2014 Poets House fellow. Her poetry and critical essays appear in the The Los Angeles Review of Books, Boston Review, Hyperallergic, The Paris Review Online, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. (8/2014)

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