Mackenzie Cole

The sky has come in from the coast as grey scars

For Anthony


And my ex texts to let me know her stomach

is disfigured. But she isn't disfigured.


So I have on gone to Cafe Dolce

with my headache, with some small

voice in the back of my head telling me

that the way I've been flipping words

lately gone on gone on going on on going on

is the start of a tumor

in the Broca's area of my brain.


I would like for this to be the world:

when I text her back our scars

make us strong, I want that to be

what she needs to hear. I want to say

the right thing for every hard moment.


And if not that world

then this: when she replies

and ugly and ugly and ugly

I want to undo everything

for her–all the valuing, the under valuing.

Empty gestures. Look: I'm standing

here pointing at the monster–

the monster is invisible.

At the cafe people laugh

with their hands, and stroke

their necks, and reach across the table

juggling their palms to say

sometimes there is a balance in life

that can't be caught up by words.

I for grey feel the sky. There again.




By the dock the water

dimples with hail.

To place gulls,

we’ve come to consensus

on water. We've coupled

the horizon and blue together

with the droplet

beading on our neck. Here it is:

we will whisper

with the cadence of waves,

as if in a sphere

a house waits, emptied

by a darker blue. Or

in a house a sphere waits,

haloed by gulls. Or

our mouths are ports

where we dock the nameless.

Out beside the lake

Jordon has taken off his clothes

and gone in as natural

as nova traces–

he is bodied by rain,

or wet with the tails of comets,

or feathered by dividing movement,

by flesh and condensation

that contours our hands

like the bands of turquoise

running through the lake

lightly flattened like the lines

of comets, or intent, falling away.


Mackenzie Cole’s work has appeared in Big Sky Journal, Still Water, Camas, 491, and elsewhere. He is the founder and janitor of Milltowne Press, and he lives in Missoula, Montana, where he received his MFA from the University of Montana.