Petra Backonja



A short quavering message, my frock disarranged, or auroral and synaptic like panic grass, like snakebite of course. Yes it could be, and so modern it hurts, like the past which itself is a claw-hammer. Come on let’s go, or visionaries on the radio is all we’ll have under a blizzard of days with the descending root, its rot and orchid all the same. God, I don’t know how the retina does it, but floating in the aqueous humor I see makeshift air-machines in their punky infancy, coils unwinding in the afterdawn, leaving us out-lustered under meadows, I think.


Rapid City


The dress I was wearing, no, the dress and absent cigarette—what kind of haunt and weather reverse-enter pastures on the overpass? “Sorry,” the night watchman said, “the deer and buffalo own this town again,” stockpiled skies persist and we sleep in the crush sluggish at the summing up. Who could have guessed that drastic cables fail the freightment, one boy and one girl moored to some small patch of tar-grass? To the paler men of Mars garrisoned in ruin, hello! Hello, hello—your voices are blinking, the storm that triggered us is ending and roads ascend like balloons.




Talk is wind-play and most of me a simple machine. I may be ruined and made promises of or still less until yesterday when there’d be breakage my love, no slinkier clouds than these and rambling are the masses—from parlor grievance to proper munitions everyone has a hypothesis, each hypothesis a zygote blazing fresh in a field, each field a head, each head my own galleon. I wasn’t so sure. To the umpteenth decimal I’d remember the air and we’ll laugh about it at dusk when camouflage is greater than the arc of twin motionists and ten things all at once—more near misses amidships, or downwind marimbas thereabouts.







How in the devil came these babies here and their companion beasts of prey, the mice and pay phones underfed? Vapors in a tarry sky dear me, then homeward through the blood grass damnified and as innocent at my seam as apples in the old days, neither now in this economical age. Everything you think fits inside a shoebox, hush. My head sinks into the pillow, no blame attaches to me like a sleep-walker on the roof. But wasn’t this to be the country of makeshift neutrality, our courtesies canonical, my hoop-skirt thrifty and not too clean? You should be glad I imagine bygones backward against the current so that we both may yet be truly modern. Gimme a nickel then, and I’ll squawk like a fish hopeful in night geometries of yore.

Petra Backonja lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin.

home | submissions | links | editor