Benjamin Landry


Gabriel with a weary halo and diminished certainty.  Gabriel
thinking I could have been a roofer.  Back, pelvis and femur 
in two places.  But on my feet again in time for the dogwoods.  
In time for the razing of McMansions.  Then, of course, those 
faulty models—tin fuselage and plastic wings—you wound
and wound and let go from the garage.  The scientific method
was enough for you…that, and an aerial view of the neighbor’s 
daughter sunning on the porch.  Boombox Club Nouveau and 
her father’s Budweiser and the cordless like a doll she no longer 
cared for but made stay, anyway.


At the dirt market,

the painter of bottles

works small

and from the inside

with brushes

of eyelash.


He takes requests

but also keeps

a stock of cranes,


and high-stepping

behind their screen

of rushes and also


mountain villages


from the fog.


He draws on a cigarette

as he works closer

to the center.


He has decided never

to paint the girl

fording the stream,

her few possessions

held above her head

as though they were

for the mauve

sky alone.


The radio intones that

            A) we have eliminated rinderpest


            B) a number of mushroom hunters are mistaking false morels

                        for the genuine thing


My friend says you can tell the difference right away

when your lower half doesn’t turn

into a bull’s nethers.


            Man as bull.

            Bull as man.


But also:

            flower as catastrophe,

            minnow as exception,

            slime mold as jealous light.


I intended to finish the bestiary,

but the cattle of Kenya

kept falling over

with the ache in the side.


And to think

we started off wanting

things to be

just as they appeared.


Pretty soon,

we noticed

the morel has a dusky cousin.


We grew irritable,

the room stifling

with the odor of hay.

Benjamin Landry

<em>Edit Poetry</em> Benjamin Landry

Benjamin Landry lives in Ann Arbor with his wife and daughter and is completing his MFA in poetry at the University of Michigan.  He is the winner of the 2009 Columbia Journal Poetry Contest, and his work has appeared in Crazyhorse, [PANK] Online, Salamander, Sonora Review, Web Conjunctions and elsewhere.  The poems featured here are taken from his manuscript structured on the periodic table of elements, Particle and Wave, which is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press Phoenix Poets Series.  More information on the author and his work is available at