Apartment Poetry Quarterly

12A              12B              12C              12D              12E              12F


10D Cary Stough




To serve, not to strive. To starve. To contract.
To carve passwords into the skin of ash trees.
To lose time in the smoke of burning sweet potatoes.
To be an overripe banana, bruised by the air.
To work under, not with, not in the company of.
To flight risk. To fugue state. To thunder-strike.
To the break of day & the ache of night.
To twilight between. To swerve. To sidewalk chalk.
To be played, not to be an instrument. To be an instrument.
To make hollow. To hallow. To sing holy holy holy.
To sacrifice. To figure 8 the ice. To sleight of hand.
To grandstand. To kneel & pray. To warble like a barn swallow.
To connect & disconnect. To hornet’s nest. To unrest.
To have a contract out on your life. To uncork. To be served.


Wildness a luxury
our mild palettes’ most
prize, not a canopy
of tasteless so-called
precious metal, pressed
thinner than a finger-
nail & draped over
an aeriated marrow,
an oxygen-starved mess
of greens, acclimated
more to sea level than
miles high, but sweeter
& more intense, thanks
to the climbing ele-
vation, the drastic fall
in air temperature from
one end of a balanced
egg to another, because
of love sometimes we
create catastrophes
both frozen ends of spring,
growth seasons of unsewn
seeds locked under thawing
permafrost & behind prayer.


I’m jacked to the eyeballs
on caffeine & inspiration,
shouting my trapeze courage
across the event horizon
of our present calamity.
Years of practice sucking
snakebites, of building
a tolerance. It’s a sprint
& a marathon. It’s a digital
signature for my prescription
mood rings, creams & clears,
my steroidal thoroughbred
out of the gate on Derby Day.
Tickets bleached & brittled,
fading lay lines shed their blue
opposition. I impose on
my neighbors for sugar &
impose on the lord for blame.