Three Poems by Leora Fridman

by Mark Bibbins, Editor


Troops scatter about
an alien surface. Where does this
temperature stack up against
the ice age? What sounds

do my gnawing teeth
make? We watch morning
flake. It’s a forward march
into the gleaming future

and it’s the rancid
bananas that keep us
from getting depressed.
I help to stabilize supplies.
What will I be able to crush next?
You can ski inside of me,

baby. I’m that kind of
brass. My finger-tips like
swinging in the low cloud,
learning about crystal stuffs.

They inflate but don’t thin. I radio out
for new nails and provisions, new
wandering tribes that will
meet us for gruel, carrying

their ancestral knowledge
back. They can’t crush what’s under
us or what melts. The general of my
floe troops has struck
fear into the hearts of

peepholes simply by
carrying snow. He doesn’t
hurt anyone. He fouls
up his aim on the regular.
It’s a grace he has in him,
letting peepers slip away.


I’ve roped myself
out of another one.

I’ve left my favorite dress behind.
The way we move from crash to crash

is like springing beasts, and I can’t take
credit for the forward march.

I allow myself this gravity
because I think it makes others

feel welcome. You know, we can’t always
be discussing our latest greatest find.

Down by the old accident there are those
nice people without hope. They can spell

out everything they’re feeling
without the help of poise.

They can see until the river bends.
We like one another when I am

piecing my dress back together.
They feel my pain.

They know what it is like
to keep stitching in the name

of dumb faith. That always
renewing stoppage. That falling

on the top of what’s
next, blocking its boring

vegetable fame.
Nobody thinks they are going

to get anywhere,
just the pure blank doing,

a floating marquee
on the stream.

Substantial Presence Test

At ten he snuck his father’s Alien-
card and waved it in
diagonals, “see,” he said, his father
had been bald from the age of twenty,
“the shine. He must actually be
from outer space.” We walked by three red
marbled revolutionaries. He felt finite

to me. He vomited later, by
a cricket-themed park. I vowed to
shop only in those dusty markets,
those particular cans,
to keep my kitchens stacking
like home. He felt adhered

to me. I’d take him home if all
immigrants had beady
antennae. It was a city-
wide green space, it was
a clean-up of remains.

Leora Fridman is a writer, translator and educator living in Massachusetts. Her recent and forthcoming publications are included in Denver Quarterly, Shampoo, H_NGM_N, Everyday Genius, and others.

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