Alexandra Mattraw

Two Poems

Casino Proposals

Upsweep sun stubble.  Pardon
language that turns back

on itself.  From inside, gamble
red categories laid open.  Draw

a ring around tabling.
Tobacco heavy, the word

notch a checkered truss
assembly.  You don’t trust such

enterprise, so you reverse
letters and make capital

good time.  Dinner fiddleheads
gravy swallowed, whiskey

spells a good spill and gets
some.  Nickel dealers shine

crescents into lull slots.
Leather swivel ritual of one

to two then wet
sheets, nothing.  Pine sticky, how

can any symbol manage itself?
A trophy life, but the sky

will branch bluer
with no stars to barnacle.

I responds to such circles
but you weds her to heresy.

Lemon rind thick
between tongue and cherry

nicked.  Test taste the role
reversal en masse.

Lit wishes born with
one quarter and a half wick.

A Desert Sounds

You beckon my echo semicircle :
Canyon slot rock walls redden
all that becomes nearer.

Each exposure a history :
Sudden rain sketches veined
patterns in the thick of it.

Sand sprawl wind
written only for sound.  Now a veil,
a wet sieve grows downward

unrelenting.  Pinion pines swell
up to meet them.  Sage dampens
frequencies forward.

Creaks twist a juniper
bone claw upturned to demand
naming.  You argue but cacti

bloom saffron one day a year.
Call them pear, hedgehog, or
fishhook as really a voice

in your mouth.  Not their
yellow cupped petals but
the space around them.

Is it your or our :
Cottonwoods resemble wind
funneled sea rush.

Riverbed crickets brush
foxtails, leg-spine stubble
chirps in unknown glow.

White t-shirts
flag snap the hitching post
dry.  Denuded, iron heavy

skin sweats salt into air.
Tree stumps anchor
rocks, redden

sound in what is closer :
The rain abandons us,
but really no one.

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