[poem w/ first line after the Ojibway]
                   —Dennis Hinrichsen

I discern the odor of death in front of my body & it is my own
mother crying // she has lost her tongue //

the pulsations // her cloud of thinking //
ripple like copper slag

she speaks not to thee // ridge
& furrow //

she shudders exceedingly // I am not a son above
this field // I am a silent

being restored // lips moving but sprockets slipping

so the title cards are wrong // they are almost in Dutch
which no one speaks //

they are ahead of the narrative
—I watch her eyeballs

twitch in dream state //

to ponds // my name
almost on her lips

but not // smell of sheets institutional // I can taste it // drift
of MSRA // me watching her

watching me watching
her decay is two projectors running // but with old

language & old tech
so when she

dies all I hear
is leader tape tail-whipping // like a feather // the lens’ blank eye

[marriage is the abattoir & a girlfriend just another set of lips to smoke with]

from [q / lear] / for my mother

—marriage is the abattoir & a girlfriend just another set of lips
to smoke with // see a movie with // trade Bond girl photos with
—that’s what
the négligée’s for
—husband in a funk // he can’t tell what he loves //

beer // clubs // or
the pretty
girls their daughters

bring home // smelling of cigarettes & chewing gum// drifting //
angular //
across the rec room // tank top // shredded cut-off //

leg &
leg // slender arm

—Q laughs & says to herself the hottest things a man can say to a
in bed

—yes // her name // tight
& wet //
you // cock // need &
come //

but nothing happens //
sun sets // water runs // the television bores a hole in the wall
—girls dull inside their brilliance // only Q // on her feet // in the
kitchen // remains



—libido dies // so how cull
pleasure // libido
burns like a strand of gold in the brain // body

shocked out of dream // dead
sleep //

to ache & urge

—moon—hand // air
—in a room // alone
—what is it they say about the body


—she lays a long time in the shape she’s worn between the covers //
sleeps fitfully // wakes

—car lights burning windows // 4 AM // on a far wall

—ceiling curing // she
stirs // to a photograph of skin //


—then lens snap // the Fresnel // game-show-theme-song-gong //
that one actress in the comedy Q watches at 11:30

—the day pivoting // body
settling // each dull pain’s groove


—if fire cleanses how is it smell
remains // his ashes
in the ground
like a book // a fat book now nothing &
well // nothing
so she burns a photograph // burns a shirt // but if fluid leaks //
if carpet fiber //
she gives away the rings to melt // bag
of ties like a bag
of snakes //
row of suits // long abandoned // still leaking glad hands // runnels
of lint
& dander //

she will scour the rest // she will let it dry // she will


—a body on fire


(there’s a rope she pulls if she falls at toilet // her
own smells appall her
but the scars are divine // stent in the heart // stitched
intestine //
she knows balance is a wire from here to there that // some day // will cut her
& yet she walks
—she’s hungry // she thinks
broth // she will let it cool awhile before she tastes
it // the surface
coalescing in the bowl to mirror or pearl //
—spoon cold in her hand like a lover’s touch)


no one carries off

(This poem is from the chapbook [q / lear] from Green Linden Press.)

Dennis Hinrichsen

Dennis Hinrichsen has published seven full-length books of poetry. His most recent, Skin Music, won the 2014 Michael Waters Poetry Prize from Southern Indiana Review Press. His previous books include Rip-tooth (2010 Tampa Poetry Prize), Kurosawa’s Dog (2008 FIELD Poetry Prize), and Detail from The Garden of Earthly Delights (1999 Akron Poetry Prize). He has also published two chapbooks. His most recent, Electrocution, A Partial History, won the 2015 Rachel Wetzsteon Chapbook Prize from Map Literary. Other awards include an NEA fellowship, two grants from the State of Michigan, two awards from Poetry Northwest, a best poem award from Carolina Quarterly, a 2014 Best of the Net Award, and the 2016 Third Coast Poetry Prize. He has recently been the Visiting Writer at West Virginia University and Western Michigan University. From May 2017–April 2019, he served as the first Poet Laureate of the Greater Lansing Area. He lives in Lansing, Michigan.

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2019