Five Poems
by Michael Robbins

Favorite zoo animal

Tiny reindeer dancer
you put the abra in lab rat.

Appoint a green snowsuit
to sort out illegal downloading.

A specter is haunting communism.

I think the lake reminds me of a wafer
bottled in Arkansas & shipped
with maple porn.


Left Behind to certify the velcro of small things

—antlers in our milk, the hen
that guesses our weight—

the hen that stamps our names on tin bands—

Management of Widow Burning,

or, The Cultural Logic of Late Creationism.


You can’t smoke in here, this is America.

A good police will patent a lint barrow.

When you fix it in a field of filthy x rays
one girl’s ankle monitor is
                                     as sad as another.

                                                            for Matthea Harvey

[Things I may no longer bring on airplanes:]

Things I may no longer bring on airplanes:
            1. Box cutters
            2. Airplanes

This spleen & idyll is legally a star.

Let us stockpile rupturewort & eryngo
in the unlikely event of water landing.

                        All that is sullied melts into flesh.
                        Hebrew, the original HTML.
                        How will I open my box on the airplane?? 

I saw a bat another bat
& two batlike swifts
that might’ve been bats.

I mean that literally.

I mean “literally”

Either Time

Made like a moving picture

not about things but with—bonny a machinist as pleases.

            I mean I have real hair to transfer

            I have moths to gale. Say it, us

            look that tiny, tinsel-mote October

            revolutions, belly-belly barometric span.

Sure, sad stories I love to leave where they lie.

For who can sing so softly heroes from their stupid tombs?

Didn’t I know all this in the version where your negotiations of

it is simply astounding to see an animal dead on a highway

were nonnegotiable? No one if you lift the rain

from the bucket & fling it back into the sky says

hey it’s raining again

                                                             for Anna Clark

Known knowns

Very little perhaps nothing
is known about boats.

I was never bitten
by a radioactive pony.

I believe we lack
a public health system
per se.


The world’s tallest freestanding smokestack
is in Sudbury, Ontario.

Lights at the top make it
scrutable to aircraft.

We’re waiting to de-fern.

Soft pink widows

Uplink with the Candied Piety

Filament the trash-fish trade

Your spinal melodies comfort
            ejector-seat collectors


Tried to use the spoon but the spoon
            shorted out
It wants its robot raspberries back
Tried on neon, neon
            obsoletes me

& xanadus from the fever archive
Remix the minesweeper’s tiny sex

Thus you no-man-fathom, pee-shy
Braving the salad to saturate
            lavender horizons
            with wire-minded professionals


The religious left’s turntablist
Printed our t-shirts in narrow daylight

Like an odometer you sundered valentines
Fire-static limbered your ambit

You were weirded by an old box of receipts
Purple numbers italicizing trees

Michael Robbins is a PhD student in the English program at the University of Chicago and teaches poetry at Columbia College and is an associate editor of Chicago Review. His work (poems & reviews) has appeared in LIT, Tinfish, Boston Review, Court Green, Phoebe and the Chicago Review.