Velleity by Sarah Kathryn Moore

A little called anything shows shudders.

—Gertrude Stein, from A Little Called Pauline

Street lamp light through a glass pane and secondarily a held-up sheet of heavy paper from Buenos Aires. Dually framed on the leaf’s a line drawing, fox corpse flossy with flies: the body is, thusly, lousy with love. Zinging through the sieved body, vinegar citrus tang of thought—this fox must be down now to bone!—also, how I go all Jell-O at a Golden Era tango: also: your lisp, a lazy wasp. Image of a brain, drugged, in a bucket. (There are times I worry I’m not well). Image of Elizabeth Bishop’s poor tormented toad, endlessly smoking. Darling, remember that endless summer we lounged? In our mouth some sparkling water effervesced. Now (how?) it’s the fourth of some other month, I’ve been lying here for ages riddled, perturbing—how easily a bus could crush a bike cop—unbidden image of the gone stone garden I grew up in. At eleven, breastfeeding my baby doll, I made a wish—the very littlest!—unknowing, being little, the damage big love does. Street lamp light exact grain of wood and textured scotch tape, wet cloth whiff of elementary, siren hum the sharpener, my fondest wish to grind my little finger to a perfect spike of blood lead. A child’s most enormous comprehension dawning, long before the body begins the endless degenerate process spurred by mental anguish: we can’t stop the body’s wants, structural detritus, we live a lifetime lost inside it. In a pool of street light the sexy street man breathes lazily, Cash money? Green paper? Desire spooling darkly from the passersby like gore.

Sarah Kathryn Moore has published most recently in Okey-Panky, City Arts, Poetry Northwest, Cutbank, Newfound and Pacifica Literary Review. She works as an art model in the San Francisco Bay area.