Horses breed wisdom, black bear with a fistful
of bees. The dog with his bone, the dog with his ball,
the dog with his never-leaving-us-alone. I’d curse the sun,
but it rained all week and I can’t remember my dreams.
I pick plums from a tree in your backyard for breakfast
and brush the fur off with my nightgown.

These plums are mauve and overripe. Seeds
in the elephant cage, last week’s earthquake,
waiting for the smoke to settle in your eyes like pits.
The volcano’s last breath bets on the darkest horse
limping home after the flight of bees. Everything
is possible until it is possible. Dogs don’t lie.
The bed still sinks without my weight.


Today will stretch for months unless
I can jimmy the lock with an expired credit card.
I watch a girl kick a trashcan and a rat
crawls out of its mouth.

My tongue is heavy with limestone, my breath knocked
out by uproar and wind. I can’t resume
the shape I had poured myself into before
the clouds passed. Now I am opaque

and nostalgic for when whiskey
was solvent, a welcome hiss I bet my last pinball game on,
one for the road that rounds and flicks me past the Daisy Mart
and just to the mailboxes.

The mammoth of my dreams
promises better karaoke next town over
and I have to trust him.


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ADÈLE BARCLAY’s poetry has appeared in The Pinch, Print-Oriented Bastards, Branch, and the anthology Lake Effect 3 (edited by Carolyn Smart). She does social media for Wave Books. Lately you can find her living and writing in the Canadian Pacific Northwest.