Apartment Poetry Quarterly

16A              16B              16C              16D              16E              16F


16d Ryan Bollenbach




I lost myself in the marsh

Heard a green song

Lost some bones

To that green choir

A plant-throated supplicant begged

With my voice

And a panther


Gauze-covered eyes

Walked with no human wound

Moistening its taut back

Kill or be killed

The big bang dropped us in it

The big microscope priests

Pressed onus into every cell

With sermon and surreptitiousness


I bent my head loamward

To eat some seed

Craned wildly my unbreakable neck

My body flashed gold

Into the Gauze Panther’s cotton-covered eyes

And the panther crouched

Inside me

Waiting for the smell

My first carnage dive

Found dirt in my nose

Inhaled ground up

Entered my head helically

A popped thought wasabi

The clarity of a clean green breath

Breathed in at the genetic level

The marsh writhed inside me

One century: a ball of worms slick and mating

One century: a menagerie of ice bright lightning

This century: a manufactured rumble

Envelops the big air

In a flimsy plastic microwave package

And the loam sucks in


For a growl
A planet growl—
Planet, the word itself a collaboration
Conjoining phonemes
Can you even say it without heaving?
Even you
With your ludic glasses
Can you really hold a word that naked
In your holy mouth?






I wake naked
And the planet wakes
Naked with me
Once a writhing orgy
Of membrane on membrane
Without caring why
Now my thigh crevasses itch
My hot hair itches
The antlers
Strapped to my head
Are a violent helmet
I hide underneath
They whisper to me
In a bone syntax
I can’t understand
The golden gazing Gauze Panther
Found me again
Pinned me to the ground
With their arcing dewclaws
Their sandpaper tongue runs
Against my hairy nipple
This morning
Euphoric boredom
When I knew they wouldn’t kill me
I forgot slow
Could be this empty
Without fear
O how the marsh laughed
Danced at the base of the bonfire
Fire ant hill for feet
Lilly pad for waist
Mango root ribs caging
Hearts beating in spider webs
A symbiosis ink can't cover over
No the gauze are not over my eyes
There was water for the kelp
On the pond’s shore they fell near
After the first vernal explosion
That shore dried and the kelp became ravenous
I pet the dirt on all fours
I bite it softly
Soil falling out of mouth
My new green limbs dull to brown
The kelp does not care
If I live or die
I apologize to nothing for nothing