The American Museum of Telephony Burns to the Ground

O said the old wood phone mounted on the wall O no. * * * Hot breath on the receivers. Tongues wagging, bad news. Tongues licking, bad news. * * * Smell that? said a Western Electric Model 500, basic black. Hot damn, it’s smoke. Is that what smoke smells like? said a Trimline 210…

In Memory

Today I gathered your bones and what was left. I am almost glad you both went at once. I hear sisterhood is strong even in death. Into the quick dug pit you go. It is hardly deep enough for winter. But it is August and if I am honest there cannot be much of anything…

Moon, I Already Know

The eye as a gate to sublimity, rain begets rain as the subject— it has since become funny to apologize for anything at all. Who are you? Who are you? Begging for walk into emblem, gnashing teeth, leaves fading into green only to become compostable again, eventually. Little rose-colored pennants of the season; futurity presents…

Field of Bullets, Medicine Bow

Forty five dollars of regular unleaded. My gas tank is a graveyard on fire. Most every species that once drew breath is fossil now, or oil. If I’m to die in this latest Apocalypse, what would my body ignite? Whose escape could I fuel? Wyoming, too, is an unmarked grave and the wind shears off…

As If Light Could Ever Be the Answer (amber snail to the green-banded broodsac)

The green-banded broodsac is a behavior-altering flatworm that causes the snail to seek the light it usually avoids. The flatworm occupies the snail’s eye stalk and pulsates, mimicking the appearance of a caterpillar, so a nearby bird—the definitive host—might be tricked into eating the parasite. You prod me, shrinking, into the light. My tender eye…

Add Phthalo Blue

To the lean trees, leafless, the sky awash in spirits, to rain-streaked, grayed-out wetlands. To aging winter’s illness—a cold-boned birch once silvered     by the moon. Phthalo blue—bright, crystalline—stumbled upon by a chemist troubled by contamination. Its light-fastness, tinting strength, its resemblance     to the blue powder childhood. Judith Skillman’s most recent book…

Camille

after Camille by Edyta Salak She never felt like her name fit her, he felt the same. She lets her son dress up in leftover pastels, does not scorn him when he twirls in a dress only laughs and notes the skirt’s shape as it swirls. An opening flower, the pink of a cheek, her…

Postcard to Hugo in Port Townsend

You live in a time when a poet can say This is my soul, the salmon rolling in the strait and salt air loaded with cream. Can say take others by the hand: we are called people. 2016? No way. Not your fish. Not your air. Nobody’s just people. I want a guide but the…

Humans Taken Hostage in Dog Park

A pack is following in a circle, a hierarchy beginning with scent. I am on a park bench. A humane society is one. A human society is another that remembers pairs of startled irises reflected in high beams. When we approach sleep, we draw a perfect circle, a string tied from our bodies to the…

Nesting Song

We thatch ourselves off from the day with salvage, the color orange, pieces of twine, spread into a floor, a ceiling. Your feathers on my tongue, we glide on updraft, on thermal. Flutter in a rounded space. Pluck what glints. Fold it into home. *Originally published in Stone Highway Review (edited by poets Mary Stone and Katie…

Spiral: Pre–

Katy E. Ellis grew up in Renton, Washington, and is the author of three chapbooks: Urban Animal Expeditions, Gravity (a single poem), which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and Night Watch, winner of the 2017 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award. She studied writing at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, and at Western Washington University. Her…

June Cleaver Nails

There are days when the only way I make it is to put on a dress, pearls and step out into the world like I have it all together, like every mascaraed eyelash is in place, like if someone walked into my house they would see perfectly parallel vacuum lines. My short manicured nails, cultured…