I cannot take what isn’t a gift. Socket,
Stiff dance, misdeed, a half intelligible embrace.
Mistakenly, see what we have made. The wind
Piles into sonorous, explicit columns.
Just as we were going, fumble together now.
Topple contiguous nature. In rows, one after
The other, there exists a crude urgent need.
The lock is locked. “What are others looking for?”
More deliberate than the commotion of vows, I admit, marred.
The argument opens wide and breaks into torrent.
“How can I know that the morning is real?”



Astray, I follow the paths that have been
Built between houses. I pretend to want someone to blame.
A man can be charming—full of confusions,
Delight. Yet where are the wolves?

At throat, full of slick red bodies, for her sake
The imagination attends, not splintered artifice
But folds and complications. A young man is sure
Of nothing in life but elaborate ritual. His own private
Miracle of being. My value surfaces full of reflections.
It is not enough to believe in nothing. Start with what you have
And whittle a discrimination of fury, of consequence.

KATY CHRISLER received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has held residencies with Land Arts of the American West and 100 West Corsicana. Recent work of hers has appeared in Tin House, Conflict of Interest, The Volta, The Seattle Review and Black Warrior Review. She currently lives and works in Austin, Texas.