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JONATHAN MONROE's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Combo, Barcelona Review, Epoch, Harvard Review, Nine to Zero, Verse and Cross-Cultural Poetics. He teaches at Cornell University.


Despite the loss of the continuum. Other than the syntax of sinister cats. Instead of the periphrastic rose. Apart from the crabapple's flickering red. Notwithstanding the sky's blue pane. Although the reservoir's quiet shield. Unless the riddle can be solved. Where the mirrored contingency works its plan. Until the next creation froze.


They sensed that freedom, felt its flame. "Scarred but contained, they moved among us." Starved but continuous, until the floods came, floating their living rooms out into the streets. Along which shores the shores dissolved in. Unmoored as unanchored, banks upheld, their branches closed. Robbed of foreclosures, auctioned schemes. Deposits merged, aligned, withdrew.


"Topic sentences, as seen on TV." That's saying something. Sanctioned division matrix code. "Become what you are in six easy lessons." And wrapped up, scheming. Appearances wrestled sundry signs. "Come apart at the semes." Unlooked-for fissures, patched indifference. Which numbers he called "inherent meaning," cracked assembly's binary cold.


Somewhere in the cracks of prose. Lashed to the tall trees, lines released him. That was the economy-surface motives, deep conjectures. Transfer accounts, constructions daily. Anomalous differences composed. Or one who's sacrificed gives in, drinks warm milk to ease the pain. A lack is caused that garners sleeping.


Nothing severed, nothing gained. Savor the possibilites, crunching stones. Concurrent labels counter certainties. Impassive voices aren't shunned. Where introspection levels, drones. One man's a pinion, other's wing. He who legislates is lost. More than the minimum, less than the frame. Play now, slave labor. Nothing craven, nothing tame.


In the absence of heart strings. Audible suasions, slippery sounds. Rending along the common grove. And called forth meaning. Culled its sack a paper moon. "What were they thinking?" Impersonal now the constant comments, tonic sounds. No news was worthy, action slow. Concealed in lines contracted simply. Unnamed attractions, coming soon.