F [ire] Twice I call out your name And twice the river stops flowing Two men wearing long coats are standing where the road ends One of them has a snake ready to strike embroidered on his back the other a willow tree Touch either one and you’ll feel sick for a whole century Everyone knows that Even so I want to soothe the snake Want to commune with each patiently sewn leaf I want to thank them on and all Feed them Christmas candy Both men take off their coats thereby exposing their wings As I burn with envy a picture of you stealing apples comes to me You the hot yoga instructor who always forgets my name Not you the distance between moon and meaning The phone rings it’s the river can I come over to console her Now I’m moving like Jim Morison Not the Jim having just shot one gram of heroin Rather the Jim on stage at the Hollywood Bowl circa 1968 As if matters already aren’t tense enough O [uterspace] Hating and loving people both goes the radio can happen to anyone I’m driving slowly along a dirt road At the foot of every dead tree rests a basket of daises Why won’t my headlights make the eyes of black dogs glow I stop get out and write your name in the snow Tired of feeling lonely everywhere you go I want to use my tongue but don’t Act now and receive this handsome knife set free Maybe nothing I do will bring you back to me There’s a man standing knee deep in the river He thinks too much about outerspace I say to myself He says O you mean loneliness No I mean outerspace I go No he says You mean loneliness the god to so many down here Don’t you think loneliness is deadly up there too I say O yes he says most definitely More deadly even than fire
Tommy Archuleta’s work has appeared recently in The New England Review, Laurel Review, Lily Poetry Review, The Courtland Review, and Guesthouse. His debut collection, Susto, is slated for release March 2023 through the Center for Literary Publishing as a Mountain/West Poetry Series title. He lives on the Cochiti Reservation.
The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative’s Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, has selected July’s poems around the site’s current theme “We’re Speaking” to capture voices pushing back against the current attacks in the U.S. on human rights and on democracy. Citizens of Kansas have an attack on their state constitution on the ballot August 2nd on which we hope they will vote no in order to preserve the Kansas legacy of being a free state in which all citizens have bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity with all people affected by current rulings from the radicalized Supreme Court.