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/ash good

sound of stay & grow comes out of the same mouth

—after Major Jackson


let me begin again soft parts out pincers plush & unserrated i am full of easy ways to depart my known body slowly examine misgivings by turning the shells in space Reader i should have warned you we are tender & distracted this time let me be three futures ahead with no grit lost fast-forwarding i’ll be clear >> i am siphoning invasive desires out of my groundwater spilling them back into lost & found is this yours? did you dream of being a prodigy or savant or mother? i dream & dream textures & aperitifs & flights & revelations a not a crumb leaves me hungry to conjure so in some sense not even dreaming in this flickering picture left explainable only to altar— let me begin again by bowing & a confession


i wish the evaporated places that shaped me were bottled somewhere corked & labeled so on a quiet weekday morning i could slip unnoticed into my first apartment yellow chandelier earrings << eventually lost like all earrings exact in slit of light on record player how purple the gladiolus sometimes i’d go back & slide open auntie’s kitchen drawer (two in) for the orange-handled scissors sometimes i’d wait for the smoke heavy in the high planks of uncle’s cavern to hit my nose or i’d sit in rain humid breezeway back against rough red brick & marvel at how long my legs are now i am dreaming & i will be in the present when i wake << an oddly trustworthy sentence


ask what’s real no what’s happening no what’s true << synonyms reasons memory limited by three dimensions isn’t reasonable are you too waiting for black hole to spaghettify your body while you force yourself to visit & revisit information before or beyond horizon? Reader i know you can’t possibly listen when i utter stay with me we’re always in such a rush

want for beauty that could kill me


when i paint my face considering light/shadow turns miniscule not nostril but 37 rhombuses peach not quite peach burnt sienna navy magenta grey-green fuzzy edges i finger moss craving it couture gown hugging small of back— mine or at least sublime body hungry for my touch


i’m sorry what were you were saying? i was in the sky smelling mysterious lavender absorbing exotic intimacy of ladybug motoring over my knee scratching my scalp until it turns percussion countless small wars erupt from fingertips taunt me again mars it won’t take much


we’ll be at battle i am humbled not by creator but to be creator & damn here’s the longest bow you’ll give/receive forehead anchored at your own feet stumble into at least three extra dimensions & birth not bodies but beauty- creation itself find hyphens anti-humility fire-child light-rich


everyday-god in this equity sweat project keep asking for what you need whoa slow let things ripen but also apologize quickly is beauty such vile expectation from all of it sprung into being for no purpose later you’ll say we used every bit of the light & it isn’t a lie we’re still here licking our fingers

Ash Good (they/them) is a queer & non-binary poet, designer & activist in Portland. They are a cofounding editor at First Matter Press (a 501c3 nonprofit) & a reader for Frontier Poetry. Their newest collection, Us Clumsy Gods, is forthcoming from What Books Press in October, 2022. Poems recently appear or are forthcoming in Voicemail Poems, Willawaw Journal, Cathexis, Not Very Quiet, The Timberline Review, The Cape Rock, Rise Up Review, Gulf Stream Magazine, deLuge, House Journal, Faultine & others.

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