Karin Randolph

Impossible not to think of herself as an off-brand. The insect mimicked a stick, astral and pale. Kids darted through the park heedless of hidden razor blades. Two wings nearly touched. We old-timers love boulders, sediment and mud. The insect is just another inch. Some collect around a candle. One kid is wet. This cloud may be amorphous up here but its shadow is all sharp corners.

Smeared smile, trunk to follow. Her scent stuck to everything, uranium in the Chinle layer, a green-gray deposited from old seas, and behind her ashes from dead volcanoes. Long ago they fell upon the exposed. This loop will take you to the petroglyphs. Slimy shale.

“Three big ones circling,” the seismologist replied. “I’m concerned more than ever.” He pointed a stick and the map jumped around. A phone coughed, I’m on hold. It was the future, perpetual tics and tremors. A man sunk his canines into me, refused to release. Slight pains in radials, loss of sensation. Sun does not retract.

Turned on the light to check on the darkness. I’m green and jumpy. Jam a digit into a crevice and it’s a lever. In a mirror I’m only half as big. I — not it. Spiral of a pen, escalator up. Check it out, a million years in a blink. Rapids ahead, no god, sick of salt pork.

With Tatlin it was sticks. With me it’s tape. I worried about his tower. Here’s where he drank himself to death.

We sleep in our clothes, heads touching. I woke up in the snow. The sky touched a cloud. Shiny foodstuffs.

The walking sticks played dead.

We need to build faster puppets. Boys will be critical. Body carries its head lightly. Don’t get lost in it. Gooseneck lamp, we are over here. Words I can’t remember. Shinny. Calling the dog out of Lake Michigan. It escapes me.

Mississippian Period (1000-1673): large villages and cemeteries appear in the upper Illinois valley. Two tropical plants combine with native squash (pumpkin). Cooking pots become spherical like pumpkins. Bison are common. Tribes trade household items and beads at Starved Rock. The kids bother me. This sandstone pedestal has a colorful history. Copper geegaws set apart prominent individuals in burial mounds. Glaciers carried copper bits. Other artifacts: flint points, beveled scraper s used to clean heavy hides, large ovate pieces for general use. This drug supposedly lowers cholesterol.

After 1660: Iroquois raiders armed with guns penetrate the area.

Children go door to door in flame retardant costumes. Arson is suspected. The man wanted a second chance. Marie Antoinette is our secret Santa this year. Who wants continuous foreign wars? The anchor coughs. Eat only commercial candy. It’ll smolder for months. Houses wrapped in festive spider webs. Men are not allowed to dress as rabbits or elves. Your levels are dangerous. There has to be higher plan. Even flowers are convoluted. Things will work out. The crops are in. Bluff edges are favored. Volunteers offer blood platelets. They ate burgers and burgers. I had the ranch. The anchor is pooped. Dad passed out but came around. I’ll start the fire. She angled the car, he trembled in a smoking jacket. You’ll only notice a little prick. “Timid with memory.” Children don’t go to hell. I get to keep the evidence.

By 1833: all the Indians had left for Kansas.

Marquette and Jolliet ascended the Fox, portaged, followed it to the Mississippi. La Salle reached the mouth of the Illinois on February 6th, 1682.

I refuse a human shape!

Sinatra awoke with a jolt and exited the bus. “Hey, soldier!” She chased him down the road. We need to beef up our forces. Print in black. The official wore the gray of a fallen general. It must be a black pen. September 1, 1914: Last of the passenger pigeons passes.

I couldn’t spell his name. The sun “fell.” Let’s not watch it. Shutter released. I’ve got your back. Call me Karin. We have teams and debris. Fighting Illini have spirit — but why? A Paleoamerican offered a hand. Change world to word. You had no arrows to your name, no powder horn. I have hardly spoken of salt, haven’t mentioned meat. Name a defunct tribe.

Feet are tripods. We used one of those spiral mosquito coils. I took a snap. Actually I’d prefer something teetering. Hence my reason for sending you these blurry ones.