Rosemarie Dombrowski is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Phoenix, AZ and the founder of rinky dink press. She is the recipient of five Pushcart nominations, a 2017 Arts Hero Award, the 2017 Carrie McCray Literary Award in Nonfiction, and a fellowship from the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics. Her collections include The Book of Emergencies (2014, Five Oaks Press), The Philosophy of Unclean Things (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and The Cleavage Planes of Southwest Minerals [A Love Story], winner of the 2017 Split Rock Review chapbook competition. http://www.rdpoet.com
~ The following poems are from Rosemarie Dombrowski’s unpublished chapbook entitled Corpus Callosum, a few of which were previously published by Split Rock Review. ~
Your heart is light,
like a stone
with no mass.
Your mind is dense
with harried thoughts.
Someone suggests electrolysis,
begins to probe you in places
that require lubrication.
In the telescope’s mirror,
you look like a spaceship
destined for a black hole.
You confuse the 17th century chemist
with the guy from the early nineties,
a time when everything depended on
two-thirds of the body being invisible
and everything that remained
being burned off like pig-fat
but with more pressure
than you thought possible,
more than you imagined
could fill the esophagus
of a woman already gagging
on liquefied air,
standing on a planet
that used to be so breathable.
You can barely remember the last
streetlamp-nocturne in yellow,
cabin vapors trapped inside your body,
a bag of Chex mix and coffee sludge
clenched between your thighs
and your finger between his teeth,
his molars igniting your senses
and your air-sign proclivities,
thinking how brilliant you might be
if you survived this.
You were inactive,
so you called yourself
a slow-glow in the night,
like the gasses that illuminated
the bank building on Southern.
When you were young,
you wanted to be the one
who uncovered King Tut’s tomb.
When you got older,
you realized that you preferred
the Nobel prize in anything.
Your heart is ancient,
like a lake-bed caustic to the touch,
sometimes riddled with holes
between here and Las Cruces,
your vision battling the I-10 ash
until you beg someone to pull over
next to a no trespassing sign
so you can retrieve the burnt-orange crystals,
become one with the mythological origins,
the time before match-heads and Drano.
The essence of lime-rind
curled like a double helix
around your tongue,
feeling its way around your orifices,
through the holes in your teeth and bones
until you stop to slake your thirst
with the carbonated amalgamation
of something that isn’t too sweet or viscous,
like the summer you spent patching walls
and drinking peach tea,
rolling the plaster of Paris
between your forefinger and thumb,
which we both know was a metaphor
for something unspeakable.