The Problem of Hands, by Louise Mathias

And how to fill them
is the problem of cigarettes and paint.

First time I felt my undoing
was in front of

a painting—Sam Francis, I believe.

Oh, his bloomed out, Xanax-ed California.

I liked the word guard, but you know

we made each other
nervous, standing too close

for everyone concerned. All art being

a form of violence
as a peony
is violence.

Here you come

with your open hands.

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Quandary, by Louise Mathias

All night I flew the dark recess of God’s mind.
It was arranged like Iowa fields–

not a damn thing missing.
You ask how I survived.

I lived on a message, broad light
at the end of the world.

Words, they have so much in common with departure,

the clouds elliptical & nervous.
Why translate? It’s just a revolving door.

“Chill wind” has seven
components. One is loss.