Cate Peebles



One night, I follow myself
Home from a costume party—
Dressed as a stewardess

Who’s fallen from her aircraft
Hair scattered with shrapnel, loose
Pins astray over my features

Some fuselage caught in my teeth
I watch myself from a distance
As I talk to people all sky lounging

Around saying I want a bag of chips
Fake blood crusts my roots and temples
Tiny glass bottles of Smirnoff empty

I’ve been following myself since take-
Off, a parachute tucked sideways
Like a bandanna in my pocket

I watch myself commandeer
The play list where there’s no right
Song to dance to, with or without

Partners, crash landing hard near
The window in the shade
Of a large fichus plant and Japanese

Blind and I walk into the bathroom
To wipe real blood off my knees
But get sidetracked by Amy and say

Amy, I’ll have another beer, and
When I walk away, Ben says to
Amy: Her fog lights flickered, captain’s

Out cold. Take her home or someone’s going
To rape her. Amy nods and I don’t hear
Them, but I do because I’m off

To the side with ice water and a floatation
Device, then follow Amy who follows me
Into the kitchen and she says: Let’s

Get you home. We call a car and I
Trail behind in a black sedan eyeing
Myself and Amy until we get to almost

The right neighborhood but not quite
Where I jump out of the cab in bare tights
And run like a headless track star

Over the sidewalk, one stride for every
Square as Amy yells after. I chase
Myself by shuttered brownstones

That domino by, the keys won’t fit
And I’m running, chasing after
Myself for six blocks where

Nothing magic happens— a clean
Moon-shivered lozenge splintered
In my toe—feet, my red blistered

Map, their slap-slap, the fog’s stony
Laugh against my earlobe—echoed
as I stop—standing in the empty street

and up the stairs, my ghost safe inside—
cold air through a crack in the window
pushing green curtains against my skin.



_______Raid a cul-de-sac of sacrificial mansions
Manhandle the endless chests of fur & angora
Pristine tin cans, wrapped in red labels—glorious
Saltines, a stash of almond butter, deluxe shampoo
& lotions, sitting where they’d been set, where everyone
Sat to talk of toothaches & dish patterns, now
Gone in the way going has of leaving behind, the
Fingerprints are all over the vase, the door-
Knob & the floorboard’s gradual sink

_______Here now, everyone who passed through, moved along,
Isn’t living anymore—eating the earth’s penultimate
Strawberry in an egg-cup, lips drip seeds that
Don’t quite know how to plant in porcelain, wearing a full-
Length mink against the chill, yellow track shorts
Underneath & a cheese knife in hand—things
Are just fine; leaf-stuffed gutters
Collapse over other overgrown green branches—

_______Effortless, speechless, griefless
What moth was I telling about the burnt caramel
Aspects & crystalized cream of being a ghost
Or not, gone on to their own full-pantry condo,
Who waits at the motel down the road by a rotary
Phone—but look out back, the beehive’s
A busy kingdom abuzz & no hands swatting




There’s no hot-air-balloon holding me up:
it’s a bellyful of bow-ties; all know-how, slip-

loops & heaven. But I am not your birthday
present, so, no, you may not untie me.

A mountain range lounges beneath my feet,
made perfect by some flourpaste & tooth-

picks. We need each other because it has everything
to do with flailing— looking like nets, thinking

like knots. I’ll dance like a cabaret of burning
lace if you give me a moment & parachute. I said,

Show me your fiery hoop. I know where you’ve
bubbled & burst—I agree firmly with blueness.

But would you give me a moment, or just its lampoon,
its broken corkscrew? Some people don’t understand.

We are all improved by feathers. Come witness
my dangle. Just a girl & her ruby red yo-yo.


Look a little longer. Stay for supper,
_____ maybe twist the wish-bone
_____ & think of me.

A crawling thing retires
_______ under the sun-faded
couch. This novel needs pictures.

This close
_______ I would

rather spill my confetti
_____a la supernova than sing
in reams
_____ of un-clipped paper

that wrap the cage &
_____ put us to sleep. I would rather
_____ we stay
in pieces, a nest
collected— collecting this,
_____ that & the next

hemisphere. We’ll keep it warm
_____ until it’s ready for rounding. The
bottom of the sea is an overwhelmed desert;
my goggles

tell me there will
_____________ always be something
between us. A simple

_____)))))))))__ hinge
is what we need.


A recitation of knots
______ in the order of their slipping:

once, I had a night
______ & gutted its insides—
then, I had a morning

_______& folded its two squares
into sixteen hollow boxes—

there is never,
___________ no, never,
enough holding.


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