Crow Hollow Books

The artist's space.

Murder Four, Spring 2017

Crow Hollow 19


There is always something about to fall
into us. A meteor. Some plague

turning us crazy. And so, on our backs, we haul
bags of rocks. The size

doesn’t matter much. But the bigger, the better,
though our loads will get heavier

as the sky fills and darkens. This rain is not warm like us.
Can you imagine what lightning

feels like hunting your veins for a heart to stop —
no thanks. The last hurricane

that raged through killed dozens of us. Just like that. Ash.
We may as well have been the rain,

crying as we did. Dug up wells. Now we’re all traveling
to suffer in the ocean, to stop the flooding.

We don’t trust this planet anymore not to swallow
us whole. Our rocks

have been passed on for generations, but we know
we’re going to get this place

before it gets us. We’ve learned to mine poison.
To spill ourselves at highest toxicity.

That Earth doesn’t wear a mask. Leave our mark
on this motherfucker,

that’s the least we can do. So come wait in the water
with us, star-shaped and angry,

waves of sludge like breaking glass on our bodies.
This is where we are emptied.

We are the universe, our best weapons hidden
in a vacuum. In our expansive time.

Now you’re wondering why we brought these rocks.
So pick one up. Keep another

in your back pocket. Feel its crevices, what has been
abandoned, the craters

it can leave in futures we imagine. This is how we stay safe.
So let’s show the atmosphere

what meteors feel like in reverse. What it deserves.
Stop telling me about gravity.

About down. If we’re still loaded, our weapons
won’t sell us out.

Finale B


Let us all understand that the song lasts longer than us.
That we’re so sad with want
we will rip birds from the sky to hold the one thing that stays.
Maybe it would have mattered if we’d asked the orchestra
to play in shrieks. With old strings. Shaking.
If empty seats picked the music. If being empty were a task
deciding what is beautiful enough to fill a room.
Come on. What if we were walking together
& watching our lives move just like us through the cold
shop windows. Asking & fading with the sun.
What if we never made it out. Stayed humming to the street
alive with busking. Somewhere in some city.
What if the radio was an accident today.
We all hear a song, a wind weeping in the background
of machines. We all call it desire. There’s a place
where the dead go for days & after. Call it Finale B.
No one wants to know about the dying,
but everyone asks what happens—
what horizons, what impossible sounds we can make.

She Asks for an Abortion

And you like that
she’s asking, don’t you?
Because you hate
that her wedding was
always on the run,
that, over time, the weather
tore her flowing gown
short and brazen
with desire. That she
never wanted you
to officiate its death
at your altar of
high-heels, diet pills,
and contraception, or
her father’s blessings:
bless the man whose hands
are full with her, may he
take care of her and arrange
her bluebonnet bouquets
and beautiful children.
That you can’t give her away.
That she can’t
get two-dimensional
enough to fit into
the sacred, healthy future
you’ve drawn, inked
onto stone like a tag:
the sex class where
she learns body means
never means protection.
Where she sneaks open
her diary, burned
on nights she couldn’t stand
for her mind to spread apart
in the night’s exam.
How she asks the empty
desk if she might shrink
into its drawers.
If she might sew back
her spine one day,
dreaming of the men
who might read through
a skinny, scarred I
and find the penis
she was going for.

About the poems: No comment.

Bayleigh Fraser