Rae Winkelstein

3 poems

Opening Song

I never meant to exult like this 

Mountain shakes down its detritus
What has made you tremor
in your significant word.
Mountain says, you do not pound.
Even to utter her name
in its full sense.
Sliced, cool pile. Influence. Grasses.
Also my secret game is ending but
have stopped often to vomit.
Tremor word dwells on a slick
human ground, in sunken fishy fat.
Here: she is waking up.

that I did not mean to fluoresce

that I did not mean to exult this way

I never meant to exult this way
Mountain shakes down
I know it.


Flocks, Flocks, My Lover Is Gone But I Don’t . . .

For Leah Sohotra

In the autumn, in a leafy cave,
I went in search of flint
For the knife making night had come
And gone, and I owed a friend.

The snow furrows were strangely picked,
Conflicting with the narrow channels carved by the wind.
They stretched far beyond the opening.
But what had driven it such a long way out?

And someone tall admired it across the field.
And someone was coming for him, to clear him away
With a stiff hoar broom in her right hand,
I saw the single fang of her forearm with the light on it.

I am grown now and might easily slide into my report
Certain details (imagined) which did not happen.

When I was a hot field of tomatoes the farmer used to say
He was smarter than me because he faked the water but I grew.

I pinched hold of myself, being a round flesh code
Called to bloom. Cleaning myself in the cold little gush
In the brief crêche of the darkness.


The Fig Wasp

The fig wasp is a keeper of hard
salivas in his uncomfortable head

he has this brained head, fixed
on a bunch of wires wherewith he screams

for sentient contact, fearing his own socket
his double will zinging from the male womb.

I chewed out the ostiole looking for my brother.
Has anyone ever seen my brother?

Away from the red volume of his feelings
I am not guided toward that red matter

or lumen spread. I am out searching
all of the time now, scanning the air.

Rae Winkelstein is a writer and editor. Other work has appeared in Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Cutbank, Gasher, Berkeley Poetry Review, Caketrain, and Lana Turner.