ISSUE  1   2   3  


 5     SUBMIT

In Subtropic

Shelly Taylor

In hindsight, in hands that build a horse 16 point 2 also make a man high. Plain land men put in calls for a stripper, she comes more George Clinton in a jumpsuit than not. And so I am a lip forum fancy, her fishnets & mine—hot figurehead the day wings round like a feathered something I’ve never had a name for; brown-red the pasture horse; I name her Peaches the yes-girl. Peaches: I stove over the fetlocks, said this my horse must be righteous for the running. She’s the apple core in my lap year. A man sweats white foam bites at the bit, will in teeth take the bit, runs me over the land. Yes-girl, I’ve never studied the top 40’s best & when I started in looking so closely at cars my own learned to drive itself; figures people like origami for its precision alone. Flips a leg into the chest, crisp out edges more groove navigator than not. I slit the legs off my dancing girl, dancer from the time of two feet. Shall I, yeser, wear a hat, bake bread or break the floor laminate? Leg it & go, leg the horse & his shape, Peaches, is rocklike, flanks up from the slate brush. Cradle me, would jones a mother, she will not be sown mine. How wind is backless, shifts us strangers. So girl-like I rename her my Peaches, build her around me a bowl of white heat, night kicks the duello in my corner pockets. From my pockets fruit.

The ground around my feet’s a produce market, kernels around the happy ears. From the Publix parking lot I rode the buggy legless, the way land becomes agrarian again, weeds up from my weight cracks. White elephant all these structures I build, has a double fortification. From far off as I’m driving, hanging plants dot your balcony. Lower the wall where the ivy is, I think I see hand movement in the kitchen. Peaches I have been nuts. In the belt of the backyard a black snake rears & I follow him to, okay—a pot I plant the weeds in, the tree’s system of internal water working I scratch my leg with a toe. I dream of a car packed down for New York. Who has this whole gale bagged, hits my headboard rattles?

In a time of godmothers horses I plant rose bushes—three headed monsters—& speak them grow. Each mouth through which moats rise pelicans. After midnight in the blackwater has taken on wretched so, I can’t say how it scares the hell out of. Mother his hand outstretches his thigh I think miles now—she says make a muscle, to leg it with my heel flanks, latigo. Whoso dares take a picture in that weather keeps their heads down; acrobats, maudlin starships. Think fireman fireman as he enters I think stay. Silverbells, in a lined procession, in vases, silverbells & every other stacked thing I thought I could create into the white: cockleshells. I know that ringing. Static can make a similar moan-thrust & then child you tumble: please moan for me Ella F. I hear this when quietest. Peaches gave the thing other words I thought believe in—house, door, stoop baby. Up the knave shaking by morning light, better my disco ball ornaments the wall, that sessile animal I have talked for hours upon. When the time of gunmetal rolls onward, I remain obedient to only my hands, they seem gracious. The clock child goes her way like I need her to, to school & back in roller skates.

Mother’s hands a ruckus they shift the pots on their burners, fill glasses with ice. I roll out the lipstick, write mirror mirror on the thing that’s built to the wall & stays; says stay awhile, I’ll make a pallet that’s nice. Peaches would say marry a natural father, a ball thrower, the news says fire has glocked its way through the outer-edges of the neighborhood, the streets are all fancy lit. I quit going out when I got tired of waking feeling worse, the night turns to smut & I couldn’t number stars. It never rains & is. The smell is sexy but too much, half jasmine half cat piss & a thought process. My hands won’t soften, won’t be there any longer, don’t be sad I’m not at all. In the blackwater time of going, stones for my caretaker, I—I can scare my own ass.

Peaches where are you? She must have been jacked by a train. What’s in this plain land is legs shuffling faster & faster to the woodline where the living tear apart the living and the dead. This town of ropes where I head a calf, his body whips the ground my horse brakes fast. Calves make strong babies. The snapped neck remains intact, he shakes it off & the dust.