Naomi Buck Palagi

everything I write, I write it for you. pineapples, toreadors, wood grain—this is for you. siestas in a hammock of love—for you. parachutes dripping through the sky, like rain. powerful men in cadillacs, like rain. hood ornaments. this is for you. the air has gotten cleaner despite my constant puffing and every tree was once in service, against its will, to those of my kind. this is for you. makeup drawn on a face, morphine on a gray, drawn face, bringing it back to life, to livelihood, the likelihood of violence, so much of it avoidable, on an even playing field. kicking the ball. hard. physics falling like a balloon. the largest of large men launching products lines that someone buys, someone installs. chrome faucet—this is for you. gavel—for you. the iron bell and bright lights and loud speaker and twang. I’ve had cowboy boots that were as much for you as my words, the heels wore down from my travels. this country? yours. if you love something, write it down. if it flies from the page, I wrote it for you.


when winter comes
so hard. shuddering
with aftershocks well
into spring and even
august, we feel

what happened then.
the rain slapping hard
on a tin roof frightening us
to the window, watching
for hail

or other revolution.


Voice 1                                                              Voice 2
                                                                            stem cells
twenty dollars would buy your rent and
carry you to
                                                                            infantaland, the after road, as poll takers.
princely? Yes, and caveated too, as are all
we wandered in backlog for over a year, it
was not
                                                                            fault is dealt as snow comes down and
                                                                            the road rings. we go uphill.
custom infant to infant, wandering
playpen-like, it was playpen and
impermanence; the roads carried high on
shoulders, swallowing into mouths and
windows, night.
                                                                            lights from houses moving, target-like,
the sky already gone, the ocean yanking
                                                                            each playpen babied til it no more
                                                                            cooed, pigeons
under thundersky growling their way
home, water belittling us and our
watchdog moving, the awesome rent
paid by calling, a calling, the ocean
pulling, calling, calling
                                                                            treatise on fibered walk and on that
                                                                            which we walk, long strands of hair,
                                                                            princely, in the afternoons, long, long,
in the after road.


Voice 1                              Voice 2                         Voice 3
Your thoughts wound slowly round the
room like beasts rubbing against the
drowsy walls.
                                            So she had nothing left but words.
                                            Many parents pile up words in an
                                            unending array.
                                                                              and you don't have to wonder if I'm a
                                                                              fool for love and if'n I am does that
                                                                              make me country
                                                                              She is said to guide the hands of the
                                                                              midwife, to open the pathways of the
                                                                              mother's milk in the breasts, as well as
                                                                              to comfort anyone who weeps alone.
                                             She observed several females
                                             unknown to her flitting dejectedly
                                             about in the gloom, replenishing
                                             plates with bread and butter and
                                             occasionally weeping in corners.
                                             Who's that? she asked Elfine.
There was no real reason why he couldn't
play on the swing.
                                             the old woman leaned for me in her
Make requests reasonable and sparse
                                                                              The bike stayed half-hidden, and
                                                                              Mother refrained from making any
A part of every woman and every man
resists knowing that in all love
relationships Death must have her share.
all one's craft and wisdom must be called
into action.

Naomi Buck Palagi has work published in journals such as Spoon River Review, Otoliths, Moria, Eleven Eleven, Blue Fifth Review and Requited. Additionally, she has two chapbooks, Silver Roof Tantrum (dancing girl press, 2010), and Darkness in the Tent (Dusie Kollectiv 5, 2011).