Ethogram with Cosmic Distance

   after Ana Teresa Barboza

   for D.B.



Suppose multiverse, yes. Molasses thick.               —We

the diamond-crusted, kicked up

whirling in a glass of charcoal?                 Dropped

from the helicopter to repopulate the lake,


   as fish.               —Turning,

   bright and frightful?                 Yes, but.                    —But?


   from the subtle poet I’ve practiced to be.

       —Meaning?            No, I can’t help but pretend


to always have an answer. Remember

once I reached above your hatchet brow

for the Saturn-crown of radio-dead satellites

that was not there.               —Mine?


       Not you as in you. No,

   in this narrative only in photos

   you posted online.          —Me?            No, but

   the same online where I stumbled on


a simple embroidery of a tiger

blanketed over a girl, abyss of mouth

around her throat, and said, I want you

to have me like that.              —Just how?


   In the third-person omniscient.

    —What a thing to say.            Yes,

   both glamorous and truly absurd

   when I’ll admit to falling over anyone


who cracks their knuckles just so

that the echo feathers into perpetuity sure

as dull olive anaphora in parallel mirrors, hellbent

out of sight.               —To another universe?         I think so.



   and hopeful.            —And the sacrifice to get there?

       To make of that lovely turning

   efficient search terms,

   supplementary puberties


for which I wasn’t prepared.

       —And now?            Forgiveness,

I’m better at this than I know. All along, late

to my own party. Elsewhere early,


   so what? Now is the time

   to scale oneself properly with

   the flat, utilitarian arm of a wishbone.

   To sit here, crisscross on the rug,


while pulling back a hangnail

like a ribbon to the moon.

There are so many favors

to go around.

The Difference Between Shadow and Silhouette Is Likeness

for Jacqueline Winter Thomas



We all want a black bird but none

of its omens. We all want river blue

but none of its honesty.

What we don’t know we don’t

know but makes all the better

to grieve for.


It’s this if not that

(flattery if not hyperbole)

(guilt if not semantics)


I mean the language of silence

is one of euphemism

and what did it get me—

questioning sky’s allegiance

by the birds powdered to its collar.


Some points in a guide book.

Flint tongue, buried.


There’s a long timbered road with nobody’s name on it.


Having opened in the same light,

the songs in that wood mime each other

(both flattery and semantics)


Flat semblance, skin

O, dawn on the window


Somewhere this light slatted

becomes the dozen horizon lines

in the place where water sheds

the guarantee of sleep.


O, vanishing point

O, icemelt,


Our foremost cruelty was in leaving the parentheses

open,                       just so,

O, highway

wildflower, crowsooted


Why anything                       when snowlogged

road trodden eyes

bright for the task

of its unspoiling.


It’s that if not this

exhausted leaf folded

into a boat. Shadow

on the silt bed, cursive

meandering. The water

spoken for, paper

set to flame




The water spoken for

but here I am, ill-behaved

bridge, still speaking.

Rebekkah Leigh LaBlue is a queer poet and ornithologist pseudo-native to Asheville, North Carolina by way of Long Island. A finalist for the 2018 Split Lip Magazine Poetry Contest, her work can be found in Glass: a Journal of Poetry. She is the recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, and reads prose for The Adroit Journal.