Im crossing your continent          I dreamed youd hung colors                

for Alex

Im crossing your continent          I dreamed youd hung colors

across all the corners of the room          In this

kind of world     youre lucky to have five minutes

after breaking camp     cutting wood     finding water     feeding the child  

for thinking          I remember thinking it would be impossible

to lose this     but it went well before the desire for coffee     the sound

of a steeple on the horizon     the kindred feel

of animal eyes          But heres something     they built these continents

in miniature     yours so full of light

I laughed every time they came on against

the mountains     mine full of desert     the canyon a vast redness against

the mind & at night

no lights came on          You see     dear     frontier is my natural state

Id never believed your colors could be real


On one side the mother. On the other

On one side the mother. On the other
all the animals around the girl. The girl

who will be a mother stands with all
the animals & raises a telescope to find

the mother & blot her out: a resounding
animal cry through the trees. The girl knows time

is running out & not like sand but like
words. The girl with a mother thinks about blot

versus eclipse versus really getting to know
the enemy
. Under the eclipse the shape

of the mother. Under the mother the shape
of the girl in all the animals. The girl

with a mother eats as much of the mother as
she can stand to purge the mother & become

like a shaft of light, clean & full of meaning.
On one side the mother. The side of paper

on which only the ghosts of words remain.


Rachel J. Bennett is the author of On Rand McNally's World and Game, both from dancing girl press. Her poems have appeared in journals including Big Lucks, BOAAT, Bodega, Five Quarterly, inter|rupture, LEVELER, Really System, Salt Hill Journal, Rattle, Sixth Finch, and Vinyl Poetry. Her poetry also appears in the Brooklyn Poets Anthology, from Brooklyn Arts Press, and Pith: Year One, from Kin Press. She grew up on the Illinois-Iowa border, loves forests, and lives in New York City. Find her at