the amnesiac’s rhapsody
every time they met
he would wipe
her memories clean
with a palette knife
the next morning
she would wake
aromas and sensations
had even existed
tulips and bitten lips
a blues singer’s swollen lyric
a sculpt of shadow
a swig or a wing
that she mistook
he understood far better
having left each impression
like a love letter
the way artists
to dry on portraits
Just a Small Apocalypse
2 years ago, the world ended here.
That spring the prairie fire crab-
apple trees and winged spindles
were all fragrantly irradiated.
Visiting town, I no longer recognize
my friends or myself with them.
The heat is oppressive. We sit
by the street shouting over mufflers,
attempting to salvage something.
Ours was just a small apocalypse.
90% of all species, including trilobites,
perished during the Permian extinction.
Lizards dart from a thicket near
my old apartment. I take pains not
to step on them, noticing new
sidewalk cracks, fresh graffiti.
Inside the natural history museum,
my favorite mosasaur descends
from a skeletal mount. Her jaw is still
wide, her ribs still jutting, her spine
still a fantastical swirl. In every way,
miraculously, exactly as I remembered.
Flood Song for the 21st Century
The Western Interior Seaway
reawakens & my ceiling
All afternoon, the TV streams
videos of chickadees
plucking seeds from teacups
while I scrub mud
from the shoe-streaked rug.
A brief natural history of Missouri:
waterways teeming with fish,
lacy bryozoans & crinoids & then
hickory, linden, musk oxen;
cave systems braided under St. Louis
with names like “Dragon’s Den.”
The Metro breasts waves—
not a beached whale
but its noxious opposite.
through the muck
& grease & colossal glory
of whatever came before me.
We did not construct these
floodplains or even these
did not invent the milkweed,
sassafras & lobelias; like all
living things, we are just
to descendants, trapped
in a city full of mirrors
reflecting our own
Kristin Emanuel holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Kansas, where she studied speculative ecopoetics and the comics poetry movement. She is now a PhD student studying Poetry & Poetics at Washington University in St. Louis. Her latest poems and comics have appeared in journals such as Sidereal Magazine, Thrush Poetry Journal, Shenandoah, The Rupture, and The Indianapolis Review, among others.