Shanna Compton






Town of Horseheads

And then the town of Painted Post.

Town of Bath.

The towns sweep by
nouns we cannot grasp.

I begin inventing towns that might appear
over each ridge

when I'm not caught up in the turbines

Town of Tables, town of Nest Eggs, of granite, of poison, of brooms.

I evaporate when I hold a broom.

The town of American Songs, also known as Aching Plenty.

Town of Denim.

The town where the sun sank.

Accompanied by the Aulos

It begins to rain
     as if there's a thing
I'm expected to provide yet lack

I call out to my faint accomplice
     as she lies pale against the skin
of the moon glowering
through the open window:

            Trouble with the headdress?
Trouble with the earpiece? Do you need me
to zip your gown?

                 I'm unfamiliar in this territory
where her expertise is as honed
as the flick
of a lash      She only yawns at me
and smirks              of course she of course she of course she

                     Which course to follow? The storm bursts
into the room      though we were sure
no one could find us here
stuffed                   in a row of like rooms
muffled                 by leagues of asphalt

as deep as the end of the storm
               as vast as our
improvised lament

The One She Sent & the One She Received

A pear, ripe enough to taste two rooms away.

A waxed pear, an idea of Pear.

A lank of hair, tied with twine, enclosed in an envelope on which their names are written.

The strand of hair wound around the bar of soap.

A fever

A fixture

A curse

An excuse

The endurance of an undertaker, for whom there is rarely any rush.

The fluid that preserves.



Shanna Compton's books include Brink (2013), For Girls & Others (2007), Down Spooky (2005), and several chapbooks, as well a collection of essays on the topic of video games, Gamers (2004). A book-length speculative poem called The Seam is forthcoming in 2014. Other recent poems may be found in Court Green, Sink Review, Map Literary, Barrelhouse, & Ink Node.