Anna Morrison



                                                           When I was a child, there were car sounds. I picked up and slipped on a familiar motor hum. Phrases became lap dogs with feet beneath my own. Clever dogs failed bar exams to bring me food and songs. Sentences dangle beyond the cavemouth, where I’m supposed to bite them.

My clammy atmosphere hooks in to punctuation. I remember crayon rubbings of cemetery stones. Footsteps sung by children. Adults speak too neat. My own slumping dogpile of hollow oes and aes behind a deposition of stalagmite. Cave spiders sneer: why don’t you creep above ground.

                      Outside you are gone by thunder. Outside there are orange flowers. Monastery bells on cell phones. The throat as a thing falling. Here, local grunts and mind-vacancy. Bloodguilty jowls tithe you a bone. Teeth stir quietest movement. I was born by water, so I know how to make mirrors: refract rays; counsel as a picture. When you move lips, you take away some light.


All Bodies are Electric

                 Technology and I both blossomed,     joining fingers  
                       in the morning.     When I instruct devices,     I remember
                           to say Please.     All night

                      the slender streetlamps      pet and surveil
                           our napping car.     Devices grow flashing lights;     babies grow
                                and lose first teeth.

                                            Please steep for two minutes.     Please bring noise
                                        to other noise     for me to sleep.

                         The tea robot is a gift from my beloved: it bothers her that timing
                    burns my fingers, that hot dark matter
                                                                                                      bitters my drinks.

                         She smiles, and stars collapsing
                    pause to touch;       muffled rumbles
                                                                                               prepare tea.

                                           Was it only a particle of dust, then
                                                Hello everything.

                         Mercurial faces     (based on strength of beverage).  
                    What if the person in the experiencer role is just some ghost?

                Some monitors are also robbers.       Should we make roombas bleat
                     or beg pardon like ladies when they bump our walls?       (The robot army
                          makes us shudder       but will say Thank you.)

                                   When I'm hungry and tired         and my repair
                              tea has gone cold,           you would help me.

                                    We began, and it pleases.          Our bodies
                               stay systems twenty-four hours.         Some buttons cannot be sewn,

                some instruments play no notes.
                                                                                           Galaxies expand
                          and quarrel—are they too touched by hours?

                                                                  I throw my bathrobe      on the blinking lights
                                                                       to make it dark for us.

                                                                  I throw my bathrobe      on the blinking lights
                                                                       to wake before alarms.


A Field Guide to Delicacy


                                    Voyeurs study flora, fossil
         and recent.      
                                                  They examine the making of beds.   

                                                                                       Curtsy and they think
                                                                                            she curtsies nicely.

               Oleander overgrows the fence,                   catches the caretaker’s glance.
        More glances arrive from other angles:
                         dressing and undressing

                                                                                belong to gardening.

               What lovers feel for each other—ticklish

                                                                     Prune greatest
                                                          passion.      You’ll seduce
                                              the most generous minds.
                         garter earth      to be their best.        What if your neck
                were a pier toward better light?



                            They tie you up           in peak season
                                                                  to lecture how special you are.

                                   begonias        crackle the carousel.                Leg-warmer daisies.  
                                                                                                            Whirligig rounds.

      Partial-shade        shakes
                                                            lavender cocktails.

            The flower’s beauty        
           is an armed weapon       aimed always at herself,     aimed straight from her bearded




                                                 Digital photos of garden walks—
                                                         children ran through them.

                           Eyebrows overgrow              blue poppies                  and lily-pad ponds.    

 Fountains need no primping, so they arrive on time.  
                                                                                                                  I dry fickle skin

                                                                                                             with bamboo towels
                                                                                                          made for dewy babies.    

                  Try a perennial grown as an annual.   

                               I place my most willowy self in an envelope.

                                              A shopkeeper offers to ship seeds worldwide.



                    We’re fragile,

                                                               so in veer arms

                                 with nice treatment.

                              Poor sleep spins vulgar the preexisting condition:
       I would be a vase to hold sensations.

                                                                                                                              I do have a headache,
                                                                                                           but an orgasm would make it stop.

                           Everyday a piano teacher metronomes my forehead:

                                                               be teachable
                                                               carry a parasol
                                                               but not a turtle shell

                    Coquetry pains pathological unfortunates:
                                                                                     we forget to weed sex from the words.



                                                                               For a moment my body holds me carefully.
                                                                            A butterfly lands on my arm—it leaves a mark.


Walled Garden


I’ve written down the Latin names. They wash off in the rain. I don’t know what they're called, but I enjoy them. The deer have been here since 1660. I’m not sure how to touch you, but I set the table with you. Our enclosures delight us.

                  The internet answers questions with rectangular animations. You are a beautiful weeping ash. Our fuchsia baked in the sun. The flower I named for you closes every evening.                                              

                                       How plantings soften a slope. The steps are wide and end in a choice of follies. Track the water supply with an app. Deadhead the roses. Ponds flaunt the assets of mirrors.

                                                                                 I have pies to bake, succulents to foster.  Tame nature without degrading her. If keys were issued for this, they would be bandages. It’s more practical. Our dissolves are methodical. I am in trouble—

                             I kiss your ankle and glance all the way up. 

Anna Morrison lives with her partner in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Her poems won the LUMINA and Prism Review poetry prizes and can also be found in journals such as Puerto del SolShampoo, and Adrienne: A Poetry Journal of Queer Women. She’s helped make some beautiful books as an editor for Kelsey Street Press, and she is currently pursuing an MFA in Poetry at Saint Mary’s College of CA.