Detail from Birds Over 5th by Tim Frisch

Catie Rosemurgy

Portal or
Poem in Which Your Life Is a Kenning

Check the time box. It’s vibrating. Speak into it
and feed the future a few chunks of your voice—

houseblame, sisterloop, fieldtrap.

Now you.

Townhiss, edgecrumb, smokehook.

The fire roars by like an uninvented train.
We aren’t even the debris, never mind what’s breaking.

Pinethroat and stormhand.
Through this pinprick I can see a raw girl,

picking a sensitive bouquet of window parts.

Sifter or Screen or
Poem That Digs for Missing Girls

We are gone now. The nuanced descriptions of cliffs we keep writing down
are instructions for tongues we no longer have.

I remember floating on my bed toward the bowing window as it howled.
I remember you starting to look like me as you tucked my hair behind my ear.
It was a bad omen because you were considered much less plain.
Then you began scratching at your face in earnest,
but only so someone could tell us apart.

That's what we had to do to be together—
remain intact while passing through mornings woven into tighter and tighter sieves.

But we are completely gone now.
So much for our great escape
back and forth, in and out of the fire.
Even the stories have been cut in half, then in quarters,
then halved and quartered again.
All that’s left is the word THIS.

Can two girls burn down a town if it’s no longer real?
Two girls who are no longer real?
I think we will need a third.