divine magnet





Delia Pless



The lake was full of microbeads.

I back away from the carbonated boats

and into the present,

where I’m opening a glass angel

with a set of keys. Sunday takes me

to the edge of this week.

It won’t take me any further.

Tonight an eighth grade history teacher

has just discovered, clammy and flushed

in nothing but a t-shirt and a pair

of deerskin gloves,

that he wants to destroy an old table

as much as he wants to restore it.

Would I be exaggerating if I told you

that from now until his last

indeterminate breath,

this man will touch the world

with the ginger surprise of a person

receiving what he hadn’t expected to receive?


Sketches of the lemon

1. Homecoming

Can’t forget the goal posts

how they look

like two skeletal

yokes of an airplane

that is necessarily enormous

(if we’re drawing to scale)

and could seat a hundred

thousand people or more

if only someone qualified

and equally enormous

would arrive to spearhead

the operation

2. El Niño

A red bottle cap clinging to the tassel of her


she looked like a person something


the ice quietly detonating in her glass of


the rain making slippery

                indications on the window

3. Rathskeller

Wind took all

                the napkins from the Cave Room

into the intersection

                pursued by one

                reluctant bar back

4. Hudson Bay

Rumbling through

another day

of vital

and difficult questions

a detachment of helicopters

wraps a blanket

around the the shoulders

of the Alps

5. Unpublishable findings

The anesthesiologist studied

the faces

of his patients

which remained for all

the terror and gore

jewel-like in their


6. Forever stamp

Sun rose over the river

between two silver elms

                was like God himself

had slipped a finger

into the world’s

                sparkling g-string


Twelve hundred truths and a lie

We need it to be like a rosary in a snowbank when what it is

is like an acrylic nail in a flowerbed.

We need it to be like a wishbone slingshot when what it is

is like a candy wrapper prom dress,

a swimming pool full of primer paint,

the rotary where the intersection was.

We need it, but it

                                 is a cocaine snow globe.

We need— (the cat reaches for the halo

of a glass with both hands, somewhere

between hypnotized monk and death machine).

And we— we— own this cat?



A dishwasher starts somewhere above me,

a little soapy water trickling down the pipes

in the wall behind my head.

I take a piece of paper out of the printer drawer

and make a note:

                                 applause / applesauce

I can feel my fingertips pulsating

against the handle of this pen.