Paloma Yannakakis


At the far end of your story,
just like that, an albatross
on trussed-up turf decanting
the ephemeral into
dust. Unfettered
handiwork. I waded in
to watch the strips of wall coming down.
Singed bits collapsing, flying.
Afterwards, it cost little to gaze
up at the black earth and imagine
it was once surrounded
by a velvet night.
Someone tacks sideways with painted rags.
We overturn the chairs one by one
tilted to the side of the wall, casting
no image. Only a triangle finds its way
into the steep light, growing larger.
Pluck one muscle, then the other,
the one at the center surrounding a lake.
It’s low and moves at a thousand paces per hour,
speech piling like straw on water.



Bisected the foothold
in small movements

scooping the earth
while automated shadows disperse across the concrete

a sideshow feast, the last tenants over which the night sky hung

of the things done there is no more
lapping left

having drained the aggregate half-lives
of their luster, the temperature of dusk denuded,
wrought-iron stations plied from the master’s desk

walk the deadwalk of loneliness or hunger

there is no witness for I/we as we recede in the frame, thrown against the corners,
comb through the dwindling reeds and their dried-over leaves matted at first blush

roughly asleep
light humming in the distance

– Is that a helicopter or a human?

next to the deafening performance of power
my occupation is to inhabit the clearing, unwind the wind,
its throbbing teeth detuned around

the abbreviated history of a future, shadowplay for the ages

as radiated tips of live wire burn
a hole in the ground: zone of transition, the sole remarkable source
scattering the unresigned, the undersigned

but the form dissolves before it can be grasped,
images on strike before an explosion

the memory of a piano’s broken music floats through a summer night
and oh, we crept before we walked



PALOMA YANNAKAKIS is a poet and teacher. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Lana Turner, Washington Square, Bodega, Green Mountains Review, Afternoon Visitor, and Denver Quarterly.