Shelly Taylor

Lamb quarters
One minute you are a person, the next you’re a bird shadow over the concrete:  a wide action given width, post-treetop harmony.  Shrugged at the beginning of totality, standing before the ever moving swinging door marked enter where you might be left / how much did I find my own way / owl-like:  who cooks for you, who cooks for me / on a rock in the middle of a field where on a new moon with a see-through scarf your new lover’s face will come within one dream.  You have to walk backwards to bed.  Instead I’m given broken planks, bodies.  I should have known better than a love spell manual, those bodies become dark birds.  Across several streets she dreams mine was the hand that led her out into a portico:  swan white square walls & what surrounds the shot out is a ghost town.



Specter guide

not yet quite (quote) a blossom


: you must’ve known she made herself a bush hider, curly hair & walking to you
in a doorway: oh yes she spied
the road going iceless, the lights brushed lower than a forty-forty wattage. 


She must have biked the convenient stores town wide, lost wider in
the cataloguing, raspberry slush-puppying around the gas tanks: my lemonhead money,
an old book about rabbits pocketed.
Bikes the aisles a pair of pants, pink she bought that wasn’t too far
from the high-waisted longer than a femur wrangler yee-haw she said I once was
——& she wore them into the next decade when pink nor cowboy
boots didn’t have a chance.



This is the best pompom parley for my wise tapercut who can’t do more when I haven’t a single thing to break into. I didn’t know the head hung
in the thing, that the girl growing busty would. She sang sunshine
that regrets its leaving: the whole thing, you are mine, the whole way through. 
The part a child from a mother should not know: prophesy in a red dress. 
She goes…
like a thrill gone, awoken.   


[how one instance you’re clinging to the bus side before the under the blackwater off bridge

: remembrance of father chasing mother—father wedding dress, father ring bearer, father chopping block & a couple leather switches. In that guise the lost diamond canary sung its way to a finger & a finger thrusted another finger & another father said say I do. Oh the rocks were red & nutty you thought you must be, sky topple & the memory is as is; it is not so; but realer; skin, skin; & the horizon line turns orange then pink for the picturing us.



[Things worth considering before hitching your girl trailer to the nearest     


one: he had fifteen horses stalled for the brushing. My legs on the horse bellies, my bare feet. The house corner leaving the ground, not a house, a projection of a house, but the thing unbelievably detached.  Like I said, the house corner, the horses’ brushes.


two: oh merry merry me, he invented a mother-f-ing shoe machine. saved two-thousand ladies’ lives at least by Christmas. Hark my remote closet shoe displayer red- red-red.


three: said oh no: he didn’t believe in paranoia, my soapbox hero, cheatin, lyin, swearin, gunslingin, woulda married missus kitty in the hotel entrance under the bluest moon if he was marshall; won’t hurt, leave, scratch. will cook by firelight.


four: the soup, overflowing.



She said this is mine, pine street
Pigeons are flying eyelevel & white line the street & approaching. Pigeons can fly & miss the windshield. If I’m driving there is a pigeon-cringe & there are pigeons that become a mottled larch of feathers like a tree. The tree I was back against was birded & so became a bird, maybe a pigeon. When I’m treed I am a bird, angry eyes, the both of them. Sometimes I climb its marked staves precisely & unlike the catbird——& if she’s at the piano then I am Floyd Cramer. The kitchen window’s open, the perpetual roast is in the oven. That tree was a pinewood, the kind she said Christ’s cross was made of, which meant it had powers to protect the bird & the man that could fall out it.  When she passes the tree will die, & he’ll drag it with his truck from the front yard into the forest.



Specter catena

Shame the warm county line   vibrant currency   truck pull mudboggin    she 
kneels before it    
                a man with a hose watering his lawn    thanks be the man leg-
   foundered from hillsides trying        
            water trickles roundly a stem side into a magnolia bloom fossae   
                                       the mayor on his mower ticketed a dui

& praises   white picket fence teeth   you know the fence line dirtied   push   
    wider the sills   all fingers nails & knees     

                                               missus America come home   
    Bless the housecat’s body is longwise & book-down   
the brook is outside purling               she swam

                                     she swims she swum a purple bathing suit
            in the summer sun   & the paperweight relics do over & capsize   


I had a thought it circled around my business of throwing it in an open bag & not           
        thinking too much   where to put the mercy & move   mercy
                                                     in her shoes    it my minutes   
                                                             the bag a large-ass uhaul


When the cheerleader raises her    
    pleated skirt the crowd goes      shame you’re wrong

       watching the girl split leap switch motion & a sawed-off shotgun      this is a  
                                                                                                                                                                       nowhere shine      


         If there are trees they bend their heads sister delores
                                 facedown on the church floor      I remember 
 spirit come        rotten those trees that fell the grapeline   
     fly through us


            this place & my feet zebra-heeled

                              It’s not so bad I am    sometimes the most yee-
                                                        high sometimes lower

           than the bread me better hauled someplace nicer where I can handle you     
       when I want of you    cheekbone in a photo        sir tree

                                                     stump sir humble knees close          
                                                  the circuits riper  & let do    


Shame then
that I don’t know a thing anymore   shame on you my emptiest

                       manpocket   this raindown crashing    taped boobs
                                & surefooted    our faces will change  

                      spirits coming over the cornfield we call moneyed ghosts