Avatar Review
Issue 13

Poetry: A.M. Houser

The Shape

Whoever crosses the river
leaves a shape in the river,
partial and hybrid with the sun.

A fish comes to surface
composed that instant
by light and by the sense
a weeping man must make of fracture.

The man has a small daughter.
Her ribs are growing into a boat.
He wants to warn her of its hollow,
soon to carry the shape of his ghost.

Thinking it Over

I keep thinking it over. I keep thinking
it over: a flipped coin, a moon
coin-like and luminescent, rolling on the rail
of a bridge. I keep thinking it

over, where the trees meet the road and the fog lifts.
Isn’t it over? I keep it by thinking it. I keep thinking the road.
I keeping thinking pine scent, pine barren,

I keep thinking it’s over there, and over there, it lifts.
I keep thinking it over, as the cow says of the moon.
I keep thinking

it keeps like a ghost drawing form
from breath. I keep thinking of its death.
I keep thinking years and days.
Will the years and days keep for a minute?

What the ghost is, the moon will not say. The ghost is
over the bridge.

Trying to Reach the Ocean by Sunset

We’re thinking the map is a joke
with interminable asides and a receding
punchline. Or the mark of my thumb
is greater than I think, than the rule indicates:
we’ve been this side of a cuticle for miles.

Simulated pine wafts from the dash.
We’re packed into the rental car’s
plush interior, a Victorian maroon.
Clouds drape the sky: pink festoons,
or a chain of bandages on a leg.
I’m basting in heat and fragrance.

All along the Strip, white-rimmed tires
and turquoise cars outdo water and sky.
My mind’s an incontinent collector,
a sieve with tears in the mesh.
It plucks the things of the world
for its uses—so removed

from context, they collapse
into mere iterations of an aesthetic. . .
Is this a symptom of a historical moment?
Metaphors are cheaply made. I’m tired of pink
and the loud hydraulics of my brain.