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Summer came with a dead hawk in its teeth

I hang a pair of thermometers like lizards

from the lobes of my ears In Tucumcari

the cyanometer colors the Blue Swallow

a certified seven and Bubba’s eyes were swift

spotting its original neon

and 100% refrigerated air

The man with a lost dog

sells me pills I wield the sad

yeehaw emoji like a big iron from the hip

and your heart shaped waffles

sit alone in the refrigerator

well past an edible timeframe

For every departed love

they hang bluets on the upside-down wall

Ugly I cradle my bungled joy

Ugly I sob on the gymnasium treadmill

Has a horoscope ever told someone to go

fuck themselves? I’ve done so much harm

to my natural oils In the flash burn

we smell like a Home Depot We could go out

Do something playful like axe throwing

or dirty brunch


the blood pools to rust on the peak of the river’s peninsula

jackalope you never appear no matter how hard I try

river trout among families of other river trout

coffee inside me arcade inside me card kiosk inside me

all the more games this way inside me

that dead mall I crawled into for warmth

made me an abandoned burger king in my own lifetime

morning an inflatable hammer at my fingertips

makes clouds bloom as minced onion scattered on cast iron

sound of sucking ice like old teeth made of resin

wires attached to my gummy skull I can make them chatter

the teeth I mean I can make them chatter

life a dogfight I bet on and lost

bookie said the shooting star don’t stop for no sad hodunk boy

flirtations in earshot at the interstate titty bar

saw kid indigo with a pair of $200 pit vipers

pyramid of animal heads nailed to the back wall

jackalope with green hazel eyes and thirteen horns

I stick my tongue in a sleeping beehive

come back with a peck on the cheek


in a strip mall sad and ungainly

with Vaseline on his arm

of Rorschach and plum wine

of the Cherry Boy and his snail brigade

forbid I’m romantic in America

with clouds under his black beetle nails

of blank canvas and bumble bee

dislodge the stinger with a credit card

of cruel and usual punishment

who forbade maladaptive daydreams

of great floods and greener pastures

let’s me watch the television for half an hour

who rinsed me in the Thames

who said how clean thou art

his young oyster of the river

the one with an estranged failson

curator of expensive dirt and chamomile

he thinks of you as a place

the watermelon seed in your stomach growing


When the power goes out

I take the mini-Winnebago

to the disappearing lake

They’ve found bodies

in barrels Ancient speed

boats Oh young protozoan

a haunting could happen

to anyone Grief a path I found

I could walk and walk

ask new questions

what body fat percentage

for the Blue Man Group

forgot to feed

my apricot heart

yesterday’s leftovers

and liquid multivitamins

Beyond this point

you may encounter nude bathers

I’ll admit that embarrassingly

I made a villain of the Colorado

How the flowers they plant

would not be there otherwise

Standing on the lake’s one island

there’s only one of me I’ve been

bulking for twelve winters Never

had a serious Bright Eyes phase

There won’t be a right time to jump

glasses fall to the bed of shale

You will hurt

in new and exciting ways

father spears a blue baby

dwarf shark on the shore

Chisel a new wrinkle

into your palm

dive into the periwinkle water

The blood only lasts for a moment

an out of practice


its ghost sticks around

wading above the lakebed


John Blake Oldenborg (he/him) calls Tallahassee home, but currently attends the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he is earning an M.F.A in poetry. Some of his poems are forthcoming in Misery Tourism, New Note Poetry, Rat World Magazine, and appear elsewhere online. Twitter: @LMFAOldenborg Email:

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