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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

solo; Pyro

By: Dana Roark


my other half is facedown

all gin slumped beside me

and i want nothing to do

with him, or us

but outside is a pink flamingo

floating in the chlorinated water

grazing idly against cobalt tiles

looping around

and around

what else can i do?

but lie back, transfixed

and calculate the drift pattern

of a pool toy:

smooth to the left

back to the center

now just spin awhile

wait for the wind

there must be a pattern

i’ve seen all the diagrams

like the flight path of bees,

the waves in a dune carved by wind,

the predictable rise of clouds

up from invisible vapor

just look at his mouth

hanging open

dead in a dream

of two giant ice cubes

hitting the next glass

and i am still here

with this ridiculous flamingo

and remembering a girl

who painted secret messages

on parchment paper with milk,

holding the page over a flame

until the words faded back into view:

love inside a heart


can you see me?


You might as well come over

I’m burning stuff—

your invitation

to this reckoning

in need of a witness

your offerings

(ambered Polaroids,

piles of papers

a folded rainbow of clothes—

does it matter?)

precisely arranged

on a Tabriz rug


your open hand wafts

over the heaps

and you take in the heat

as they curl up, melt down

then disappear

before lowering your body

onto the cool floor

and crying


Dana Roark is a psychology lecturer at The University of Texas at Dallas and a part-time poet. She is also hopelessly nocturnal.

"Notes on solo:

Humans tend to look for patterns—Shouldn’t there be some rational explanation for the events that happen to us and the thoughts that occupy us? Here I consider the idea that there are no patterns. Sometimes, everything just floats.

Notes on Pyro:

I overheard the opening two lines of this poem from a woman talking on her cell phone, as the two of us were waiting for an elevator. This poem is how I imagined things played out."


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