by Emerson Tenney

Illustration by Ella Rosenblatt

published April 6, 2018

My slanted strides

put pressure forward

Air in the space where we fog (our windows)

collapsing downhill

Letter paper folds


sealed with spit

A sink in August

We forget how fast

leaves become cinders


In the air hang

unbuttoned leaves

Underfoot, green

mixes mottled brown

Wind heaves branch

cold heavy sigh

A child cries out

in a pink coat


Street stones glimmer

black sand underwater

Rush on the heels

of a life lived

Streams echo

cacophonous staccato

A hardwood floor

in this limpid light

On the cracked table

a grey bowl of persimmons


Over the curb

rough brick

Apples in the eyeglasses

of a bearded man

Yellow is the tenor of dawn

(like glowing is a word on the corners)

Outside is a day

for smoke and cider



White Cups

Wisps of time



A teabag sits

on an eggshell saucer

The white string

stained with brown tea

Tree hums to the

biggest moon


(for undressing)

A hard hand

crumpling paper

Cracks in the dirt

by the roadside



I am meeting the early morning

I pass things shrouded in still last night

(and what is it to have been left?)

On the horizon, obligation is waking

a promise put to sleep

How is the right time to begin; when the day blinks

In California, a dog lays

in the lap of those who love him to

love themselves

“clutching” spelt backwards is “pentobarbital”

East of mourning

time has a red hat

(because it is cold)

I’ve known I’ve lost

before you flick the lights on.