Dana Curtis


It’s one of those days of small
accomplishments: laundry, slicing
the sourdough into individual portions and
freezing it, breaking the terrace into
its original individual pieces and placing them
like sentinels at the top of the fence. The grass
is turning green but expects an unpleasant
surprise before the end of spring – and tomorrow,
I will split something unseen, and this invisible
will transform my world in an instant. I can already
feel an improvement. I crawl through the new
growth, sift through the powder until, eventually,
I find the history of photography, the lights
on the corner ordering not just stop and go but
yes and maybe and several courses for lunch. Spring
came early and we feel the heat that will envelop
us like distraction.



Each day piles up on me
like stones on my chest – I’m being
pressed to death by this
summer full of the sickening
garden: fluorescent birds and
blackening fingers. I don’t think
I will ever function
correctly again in this jungle gone
to my long line of pretty demons and
these thorns that come out
on their own – they are the new
enemies of the Republic. The vines have
me wound in their ink soaked arms.
I know this tattoo will be
my injection, my last known
location. I sat in
a room emptying out like
a waterfall to a concrete
statue of dust. The knock at the door
is another mouth, another
ruin. On that evening, I walked
the broken marble in an ocean
sparkling with eyes – each one
my own, like anything I might
buy at the psychic fair. No phone
will ring in this lacquered box, this
comfort that remains a grave
intention as if I fall
for one more time. Standing on the sun,
the flare ricochets through
my nervous system and
I refuse to plead.

DANA CURTIS’ second full-length collection of poetry, Camera Stellata, was published by CW Books. Her first full-length collection, The Body’s Response to Famine, won the Pavement Saw Press Transcontinental Poetry Prize. She has also published seven chapbooks: Book of Disease (in the magazine, The Chapbook), Antiviolet ( Pudding House Press), Pyromythology (Finishing Line Press), Twilight Dogs (Pudding House Press), Incubus/Succubus (West Town Press), Dissolve (Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press), and Swingset Enthralled (Talent House Press). Her work has appeared in such publications as Quarterly West, Indiana Review, Colorado Review, and Prairie Schooner. She has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the McKnight Foundation. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Elixir Press and lives in Denver Colorado.


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