Bad Passage

Nina Corwin

Shhhh. The titanium insert
shrugs loose from its stitchery.
Telegraphs news of intended
escape, pays the scalpel to mum.
Oh middle, middle!
It's stuffy in here
, it cries –
the cries growing tentacles;
tentacles, feathers.
The feathers' intentions
increasingly stymied.
From deep in the crawlspace
the crying continues: Ah me,
with oval windows closing.

Corkscrewed & hobbled
by proximal kryptonite. Stop.
Alas for the anvil and hammer.
. Send help. Stop. And now
in mid-reverb. The stirrup
has herpes. Static.
This last is a lie. A low blow.
As if tinnitus wasn't enough.
Left behind: a bucket tipped
and leaking adhesions.
. Now
the pass. Obstructed.
No surprise. Mold grows as if
in fast forward. As in Rancid.
Random. Ravaging.

simultaneous equations #2

perhaps I hatched
full blown
from a thought balloon.                       o jaundiced sun asunder
emerging solo                                      bleeding yolk
from a cell split open.
shimmied down
a strand of after-
birth. pop!
goes the postulate.
that was it. I hid
beneath a bush
and shielded my eyes.          
today I put aside                                 o vein of mine 
my pen and ruler,                                dripped dry
stymied. thought                                 
instead to pan                                     
for gold in the eureka
moment, when a sudden flood
of watershed came gushing                
and I floundered.       
so long                                                 
I’ve lived a life                                                
of transitives: of scratch-
mark pigeons
signifying in the dark.                         come bloody gold
where all I culled                                 from stingy river
was bait                                               
and switch. rude slurry
of rudiments –
not much
substance but                                    
I’d eat                                                
the meal served
me, meeting each                                 as bones in a sandbox
and every inch                                     half buried & questioning breath      
of offered worm                                
with beak stretched
wide. I’d                                
slurp hypotheses
for breakfast
(some half-baked,
the rest refried).
until last week
there came a theorem:                         where faith is to freefall
solve for X.                                         as morsel to endless intestine 
I tried.
but reaped no equals
from the formulaic                            
files in my cupboard                         
of assumptions.                                                                                            
how did I arrive
at this                                                  twisted middle passage
uneasy juncture?                                 swamped in paradox
and how                                            
shall I dismount?                                 
no answer comes                               
from any ether
only permutations                              
of the possible.                                 
those that sprout                                in double negatives 
from stumps                                       with square roots barren
and those with wings
that light
on window ledges,
grin at me
and chirp:
if hope is hatched                                before two unsolved eyes
how high how high?                            & by what measure?

Pangs of Labor, Pangs of Love

(He) considers awhile a side kick,
an outrigger. Someone for gruntwork
(and sexwork) and sweeping up crumbs.
                                    Our hero go
prowling from crevice to pedestal.  Posts
in the grocery, on public facility walls,
scrawls a phone number­ –
a Tonto for translate,
a helpmate
(a scapegoat to kick
                                    to the curb)
to cut-up with in joytime and laugh
at his funnies and then
to cut loose
                        to cut loose...
he reflects on all fours till distracted
by anthills      then gets back to basics:
I needs me one quick
, he announce
                                                so's he go
to the packie to pick one up straight.
            In the aisle, he eyes
the selection, the textures
                                    and fingers them,
figures the bill
to be filled
as in carry the wallet fold laundry
keep track of the hats
and their passing.
                                      He feel the strange
coming over him then.
In a moment's anemia, heartfelt
and almost amoebic,
                         the launch into fission
approaching a Clark Kent
conversion a striptease or even
a thunderhead. Splitting and gathering,
                                    pretty with portent

Nina Corwin
Nina Corwin

Nina Corwin is the author of two collections, The Uncertainty of Maps and Conversations With Friendly Demons and Tainted Saints. Her work appears in ACM, Forklift, Hotel Amerika, New Ohio Review/nor, Parthenon West, Southern Poetry, Verse and has been nominated for a Pushcart PrizePsychotherapist in daylight hours, she is an advisory editor for Fifth Wednesday Journal and curates literary events at Chicago's Woman Made Gallery.