Golden City, Missouri


In the year of screens they were scooped

and silt. They were scooped and starlit silt


Who are you, sayer

Who still the night and its wander


I have gotten far from the grass


I have bitten the rare night

How it shocked of mint


What speak into the violet rasp in the night fruit

They drove a long time on the gravel

On the gravel road they drove a long time


This is this silt’s opposite

What do you know of silt

Knees in the dirt in the yard

I want wine. Wine I want your late citrus

Staring long they emptied their minds


Night ages in the sear-light

Where and from heat did you speak

And what is the point

And what grew and sometimes sang

In the windows

Nowhere reached its train-tracks toward the scraped beach

And we washed our hands





Scratches at Empty: A Woman


wander her
        boredom, some evening:

late-stretching afternoon of an evening:

night withholding
        its violet rasp:

night-withholding. who cares.

she is full of cupboards to lock
        and unlock, the key made of gilded sugar or ash.

she leaves the key on her own tongue,

she slips through the rooms

fiddling the dials of radios

so the chambers fill with voices

serious: their eyes
        hold attentions

that puzzle and bronze

I do not like to climb into my brain

I don’t like its fever or other

I am outraged at this waste of feeling,

green-gold orchestra
        of the backroads

insects, sting of our spit in our eyes

did you trip over yourself

and who can make haste in the yawn before night

haste does just this much: the battering walls

wait no longer than a bent song of nowhere

weren’t bent at nowhere anymore





Shamala Gallagher is a lyric essayist/poet with recent work in or soon to be in Black Warrior Review, The Missouri Review, The Offing, and West Branch and a chapbook out from dancing girl press. She's received fellowships from Kundiman, the Michener Center for Writers, and VCCA, and she lives in Athens, GA.