Leveler Poetry Journal
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when the snakes scattered: a rattling yes


the colors died in your arm


when you were pulsed

you could feel it

right about the temple


and in the bone-etch

stretching, each

rim’s reach—

firm becoming a form


until the ache was done


when you’d completed all your fowl

your jawbone

whipped shut


learning gentility transformed

another spot

for ice to grin into water

you leaned in

to stain the lip of some land

wearing the best imitation

of a polo shirt

and high-sport slacks


the sort of measurements

that roll out                    the cage

of each night being drawn


as new


gets handed

sand for the gritting



dressings smattered with evening numbers


forget your skull’s

wet                                what dings it

takes over


and who

you sit

still next to


through the full

line of each blooming tree’s lie


vapid, constant, and inattentive

i pour water

in this place


and get ready

to lick

the curve of your face

Tony Mancus