Three Poems
by Kiki Petrosino

O Lord

I lift my heart from its brown

clock & shake
long enough to catch the sad loose

switch in it.
Slow thing I say tender. I'll miss

tapping in the fine broke

Jingle days-
My heart would mark in bird

sound. A silver thrum now hushed.Hush-
Hush-this keeping unless you stir
my heart O Lord

today. Unless you lift me up & tap
just where. Two taps

may sound
through to the metal-



sour earth
manked with tongue

you will enter on your knees
you will mutter due obeisance
in old sleep

and name with wax
where even I came
to grief

even I, dead
when the heart raised
itself in war

I had my head
in brown blood, then
I spit my name
and smelled the spit

the stubs of juniper
my skin became

when you enter, do you fix
a scrawl of weed
to your dry mange

when you come, do you this

in sleep and old blood
and mange
to honor my arms
and my arms is

to slang my ribs
in torrents of tree
and wing--



You made a telephone of jackfruit.
I left you.

Madame, forgiveness begins at the

Knock and flutter as you might.
You have a chance.

Enclosed please find a clockwork rib.
    Yours-as ever-


Don't drop anything in here.
Those gears are right up against the case.
It's tight in here. Very tight.
Suppose coins or part of a switch fell in.
I could look.


Vincent pulls a grocery cart from the metal return.
Points it downhill towards home.

Excellent new cart.

He pushes to the store.
Fills up. Then pushes all the way back

Across two major intersections.

Past the peeling Coach Light restaurant.
Twice a week now.

He does this twice
a week.


In a common sword wound, a single atom may traverse up to
four inches of empty space before falling on a time of opera cloaks
and fighting sails. Calculus promises that horizontal motion is
nothing more than a letter of mark sanctified by swing. For what
the atom finds is also broken, and that rightly-


You know-
It got down to this.

You always sent one of the girls with me.
But I'd never leave without them both.

You knew that.
You used it.

Madame, maybe you were a person without skin.

If I could hold you again I would look harder.
Maybe even-look more.

You ask about my job.
My job is lifting.

Penny dark.
Hot pennies pressed to winter windows.

I lift up. And then I wheel up.
Wheels glyphed.

-That is my job-
    -That job is real-

Kiki Petrosino is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her first collection of poems is forthcoming from Sarabande Books in 2009. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Forklift Ohio, POOL, Unpleasant Event Schedule, and elsewhere. Her awards include a post-graduate fellowship from the University of Iowa and a “waitership” from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She lives in Iowa City.