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Pull the Silkscreen from the Water & Break It Over Your Knee

Julia Cohen & Mathias Svalina


If you wither into a cup of silver hair,
collect in the corner of the woodshed.

Only then will the drawbridge
carry you over the flood of family names.

We wove a cummerbund of bee stings
into a functioning jacket.

You're dumbfounded on a tree-snag
that caught the silk scarf your grandmother dangled
behind the motorcycle.

This family tree weeps breastmilk & formaldehyde,
sucks you under the bed & shakes you out
again down the silver slide.

The lawn is mowed & raw for you to rip the roses,
reduce the child's gift to a butterknife
lost below the foldout bed.


You canker by the old fence where the hedgehog sleeps.
We hang wet clothing to dry what is closer to home,
closer than where I let you.

You step into the swamp, smoking of half-sunk kites,
a cloud of fog that stinks of tin & diesel.

Wick the morning into a sound
that will mire your wheels in a drive-way,
a mother angling the afternoon into a glass of caramel.

We dunk the motor in lemon juice,
how a priest waits beside the mailbox for another priest.


These aren't ponies in three parts,
only slipshod attempting to inch up the hill.

The rodeo is a rink we skate under & out of
to the blue rope of the grass.

The drawbridge pulses like a corpse.
Earwigs infest the grandfather clock.

The same cold vocal tic: I've stood by the roadside,
film stock collecting trees felled by their own stance.


Expect a slurring dolly & clouds of iodine
to spill from your gilded cup.

You can act tough or I can, but someone
has to catch the draw-bridge when it falls.

I thought a thought of frog-skin phonographs.

I saw the motor & the tree that gnarled
around the motor through the years.

Julia Cohen & Mathias Svalina

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