The June Cuckold



SAMUEL, husband and cuckold

EMILY, wife

CHARLIE, brother


PEYTON, daughter

RAY, the rake

INSECTS, chorus

(Enter, from the strawberry patch, Charlie and the Chorus. It is an early summer morning.)



The action takes place
at the Garden’s perimeter.
The County Manse comes into view.
Impure, the open-ended watering can
waters the audible grass.
By the gardener’s shed,
we pull old tissues from the trash,
eavesdropping all the while.
Morning dove hours.
Bereft, the plover, the sprinkler snake
embedded in cream-drop white flowers,
strawberry plants, velvet width possibility.
The hand plays the part—gray in gray in gray
sufficiency, we’re in England, after all.
Slight rain, slight fog, come anthill through
calligraphy to trace the facts, that’s the best.
See the family’s coat of arms imbued
with champagne bubbles, rosy circular reds,
bottom-lipped pinks. Fire escape looking
positively on a thin tin plate. Flinty taste.
The garden, deeply worked, a craquelure
inevitable to squalor, and inside the network
of fine lines—not one of the Madonna serpents
Italian-made for pleasure—but cracked
from earth’s darker plate, the Ouroboros
clothed in smoke. The future and the past
not yet ready to be lit.


Swiss Chard Charlie Vagabond


Against chemistry, against photography
the self-portrait in four divided frames


becomes an index labor of love. June,
perfumed by lilies, Junoesque—

gallivanting greens, wake up!
Pangloss lounging

in the grass despite last night’s rain,
panegyrizing Man Ray’s talent

for negative halos and tresses.
What divided tincture lay

different than the beggar’s, my vagabond
elbows past the swiss chard rows.

To taunt, to tattle.
Ta-ta! The chafer flies off, dividing

tittles into smaller strokes, accidents.
The underneath whispering of peonies.

The whispering is Wordsworthian.
Trip-tincture— the slightest trace

of cottage dye—the dowager’s retreat
endowed by mineral curvature,

the dowsing hell bent on oil-finds
or the discreet decency of a rake,

his early morning milk bottle exit.
The cuckold’s hammock

wet from a recent rain.
Toil and moil, oils and phlox prints.

More than one hundred years ago,
painters painting in June.

The rough-duff painting
marrows the dog’s path—

Lucretius disaster atoms  
pounding away— the rake crosses

to the garden’s gate, his black boots
laboring over the dayshot lilies.


The Cajoling Takes a Turn Around Cycloptic Rocks


Would you chive butter feed me?
Butter my chops
Chestnut horsey play
This is not real science, but
Butt crack, perfumed, hidden
By small, delicate, buttery hands
I’m wearing a white head scarf 
Would you binding sheet
For the gallery parade? 
Suck my cock, I’m sure 
The cave knows lots 
Roses, silky promenades
Only asking ricotta-tasting 
panna cotta, smooth gelatin
Liquid life beaches too quickly 
Would you chive butter feed me? 
I wear a white head scarf
Would you binding sheet parade? 
Tie me up to tie me down
The cave knows lots: roses, silky 
promenades. Only asking (she lies down
on the pillow) since life beaches so quickly . . .



. . . into other seasons.
Polka-dots, your French-cut
suit, the finest silk
between your legs. (Puts the camera down.)



Italian wool, Belgian lace.
Never trust a man lying
in your bed. His arms tattooed.
Blue radishes wet with rain
newly pulled from the ground.

Epocrates, so it is written:
We rest in dark caves.



While the chafer freely flies
in and out of the white
almond blossoms—           
an accordion vibrance



holdover          allover


Ray:                                My only summer instrument. 


Salveo, Every Man for Himself


Consumption, ulcer, snake bite, toothpaste
brain-senses, memory, 10 degrees Fahrenheit


You will be satisfied

that I don’t remember
what happened next

or what happens in that book
or television show


I don’t think we’re talking
about the same thing

Sorry, but I have amnesia sometimes
It comes and goes, I can’t remember

All of it

You won’t be satisfied with my list

You won’t be satisfied until I go

Deer-hooven  hunting

Into the first frost-nipped wired fence
where I saw her tying the vines
to her own dark brown hair

She wore it piled up
on her head, a pretty mess of braids

The Romans used to grind up sage 
in their palms, it was like meditation
but better, that insistence of serenity



Someone switched off my fluorescent light
without asking
Not okay to not ask at least

since plant life requires a thank you
Even neon knows better

The gallery’s hallway a messy dream gloom
The headlights a moon look

In testing, test member, test doctor
Did someone tell you removal was better
when testing discrete numbers

Seems funny we can laugh at layoffs
Unannounced unemployment plans

Taken sips at the river’s edge
Find the matter
Run it by outside counsel
Test MD

Dark grease stain up near my right eye

Yeah, that’s a scar of everything that’s ever
happened to me

It’s polluted

Pollux star is all I ever wanted

The crash and hiss of something real



Conviction in a sherry glass,
or resurrection of old traditions.
Spirit of compromise, it comes
and goes sherry-like, dry,
sweet, then dry again.
Intuition, a glass.   
Intuition, the liquid itself.
Longing, a glass or a liquid.
Losing all of it, I’m optimistic.
Not finding it, I make my own.
Left in outside grass, the glass shone. 



is a poet and playwright living in Chicago. Recent poems and plays have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, Barrelhouse, CutBank, and 1913 a journal of forms. Her first book is called The Fraud of Good Sleep (Salt, 2011).