Anthony Carbajal

                                                                      Anthony Carbajal









An Impossible

Immediate Self


It is important to next consider the shade of a limp.

Then point to an ecstatic twelfth-century desert father with a stone in his mouth at noon.


Sometimes a luxury deadline is merely a hectic context.

Balzac, Chekhov, and Tolstoy jumped to the conclusion of an impossible immediate self.


But is it impossible, this cheerful conversation between discreet windows?

How long have I suffered the suffused threat of abandonment, even now at the transparency of age sixty?


It was moonrise in each popularized body part.

An extension of my language continued to fathom the depth of tortoise swallow among the Trobriand Islands.


I could say, Translate the dictionary into the damp pavement of a Paris winter.

I might mean, The croup of a gauzy goldfish is neutralized in water.


Like a broken arm among peanut shells on a tavern floor, the possibilities of language are bent with proteins.

Suddenly, a complete contemplation—from inside out—of my many wounds, the seeming sways of salt.


They’re really nothing special, I realized.

But float them downriver in a bark canoe with a damp-dead rat. Like it or not, they belong solely to me.

Great Thirst


Having entered the forest hermitage, our bodies sensed the coming of the Boer War.

Our bones remembered The Orange Free State, how it had hurt to boil human blood.


One of us got bit by a black fly, which produced great thirst.

Now we can recognize any dogma, convinced that surrender is sensible hope.


A broad blue womb, delirious with elephant flesh, has severe bone structure.

We sat in a corridor of bandages and wept our heads.


By eleven years old, I had already developed a delicate and shy psalm.

I would arrive less angry than organ music across cool blue marble.


Tonight I will revolve and allow the crease of your curried wing.

I will fold your lips like pocket lint I keep deciphering for a potent smile.


Listen, we arrive again and again, afraid of how far we’ve already come.

We examine our hands and assure the ends of the earth.


I’m not quite sure a simple knife wound is even intended to pass through the ocean slope of a shoulder.

While solving the color red, you take the long snout of the boarfish as a prize.

She Bent Over in Her Tight Black Slip


Our tongues, too, had been cut—just below—at the frenum.

Some saliva or other was always wagging loose.


We knew every tendon of everyone else’s body.

It wasn’t from studying nudes in drawing class.


When we lay long against one another we heard an eye socket shift, the tragus of the ear open and clothe.

We heard a drizzle of bee’s blood penetrate the pillow.


Someone called for a shower cap.

There were only two of us in the room. She bent over in her tight black slip, which made the kitchen table,

even the ironing board, nervous with my craving weight.


I lay myself lengthwise across every particle of her enlightened groin-dust.

We were red-crowned cranes avoiding the iron content of water, the hesitancy of the dance.


Did I know her the way I knew the constants of my mouth?

We were inside each other, giving birth to one another’s fear, time and time again.

George Kalamaras, former Poet Laureate of Indiana (2014-2016), is the author of fifteen books of poetry, eight of which are full-length, including Kingdom of Throat-Stuck Luck, winner of the Elixir Press Poetry Prize (2011). He is Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he has taught since 1990. The poems in this issue will appear in his forthcoming book, Marsupial Mouth Movements (Červená Barva Press), another installment of his ongoing project of The Bone Sutras.