OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 4

Tony Mancus

Of all the things your head can be

 

Your head is a lantern, you stop up its light with cotton and lambswool, you take the shade down after it’s burned. The filament snap resonates across the folds in your face. The main thing is a line. That it crosses. Any building we’ve flattened into paper, any scrape of its relevant shape pressed across the surface of the pulped tree. No island is a man, no distance is competing for stars. Them dumb and licking the lid of the night. From behind the black, I punch holes and wait for whatever glow is left as the bowl sings the finger-dragged song of its rim.



 

Of all the things your head can be

 

Your head is the forge, you seal it with wax—the timorousness of something newly saddled, but the farm is a fragment of land and tenant’s rights, a hill buried under debt and deed, the hands baling hay, the water hammered into chunked ice each morning and your sketch of the day becoming a reality as lived in as any house. I put the eggs on the door and the crack in the mandible. A bird winds up its crank and song. We whistle the water to boil and clean our mouths out with curses. The land always simplifies our tuning.

Tony Mancus is the author of a handful of chapbooks, including City Country (Seattle Review), Bye Sea (Tree Light Books), and Apologies (Reality Beach, forthcoming). He lives with his wife Shannon and three yappy cats in Colorado and serves as chapbook editor for Barrelhouse.