Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 51
harvest moon, 2023

Featured artwork, Cheeseburger Picnic, by Chris Mars

new works

Claudia Monpere

Salt Husband

Night sea is wild women, waves howling their grief, swelling in the privacy of blood. Blood salt sea salt desire salt. His longing to be suspended in air, water, anywhere unground. Earth exhausts him, all that gravity lugging him around. The ocean yields to pressure the way the geyser of his brachial artery doesn’t, spraying through white linen napkins, flowering on tablecloths, dress shirts, her aqua silk dress shiny with blood and still the sea lusts for more, bellows its demands but its edges are silvery soft they are called lullaby and it’s not the night of broken goblets loving his arm, his platelets tiny sea horses twining together, and it’s not the night of flint and wheel or the night he becomes a black hole exerting tidal pulls on everything close to him. It’s dawn, actually, cradling a gray bridge, the rail damp with fog. And she prays not for him but for her former student, his earnest eyes and poems about trains. “The eye makes paintings out of distances,” he wrote a year before he took his life. And she prays for the sinking town of Drawbridge she sees from the train, its tilted buildings swallowed by marshes. She prays for the brine flies swarming on the edge of the salt ponds.

The Want Is a River until It Isn't

The Want is a deluge extracting trees and apologies baseballing boulders ferrying roofs porches sins skin I want my yacht decks made of teak I want Triton engineers to work with my yacht builder for seamless integration of my new submersible to explore ocean depths in luxury unkey the frilled shark view viperfish fangs so huge their mouths can’t shut The Want is a gut trickling over sand rocks dying fish is mine waste and tailings orange in Ohio creeks dear tap I want water not cancer ore speech abandoned I want bottled water sourced from natural springs in Fiji from glaciers in Iceland want an infinity pool glass tiles and a fireside spa want to get in on the ground floor of deep sea mining Midas Project Deep Green Metals Nautilus Minerals Inc gold copper silver zinc think profit think rise not sink dear ocean dear river song dear want dear community pool someday I want to learn to swim.

Claudia Monpere writes and teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her flash appears or is forthcoming in Smokelong Quarterly, Pidgeonholes, The Forge, Fictive Dream, Trampset, Atticus Review and elsewhere. Her poetry appears in such places as The Cincinnati Review, New Ohio Review, Plume and Hunger Mountain. Her flash has been shortlisted for The Smokey and awarded second place in Vestal Review's food themed flash fiction contest. She tweets @ClaudiaMonpere