Michael Snediker


flew and we

were watching.

What to do
and how to remember

what we did as beautiful.

in or out of the abstract


a poodle

prancing beyond
its knowing;

and beyond the poodle
a woman

already horizoned—

horizon, canvas.
Your hands are full

of clay.

And the clay: and
this your task.





This being, alas, one of the American novels,
the girl is dumb.

And further sad, the girl is me.

Direct all further inquiries to the following,

She without Dissembling,
NY, NY, etc.

Where is Venice when one really needs it,

where square gardens
of a country house in Shropshire?

How stifling, the author’s premise that to survive
one’s natal vacancy

is triumph.

Bring on the timpani, the elephants for parade
of the captured.

Stifling, to be the booty
of an empire surveilling from the Old Testament

like a gay god.

Knock once if you hear me, twice
if listening:

I’m done with sacrifices.




It has been discovered that waiting may be
as variously deranged as doing.
I have done nothing, these many years,

and am first to report I feel deranged.

I lived in a nullity, warp and wept of fabrication.
I mourned the thread far more
than its unravelling.

To fall in love with a cad is a perilous venture:

the bruises bloomed like the surface of a Monet.
I was water lily. I was jettison, jerry-rig evolving
into innate poise.

Watch my fancy-work. I give nothing away
and not because nothing was that to which
I ceded.

I gave what I received:

economy of plot, shored up,
unexpectedly, in economy of style.
Eviscerated novel, virtue, after so little oxygen,

of finding myself beyond it.

Once I was a character, ill-treated. And now,
in the margins: sleek consolation
of bearing witness.

Wendy XuMichael D Snediker is the author of The Apartment of Tragic Appliances (Punctum, 2013), as well as Bourdon (White Rabbit Press) and Nervous Pastoral (dove|tail). His poems have appeared in journals including Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Jubilat, Maggie, and Pleiades. He's an Associate Professor of American Literature at the University of Houston. Queer Optimism: Lyric Personhood and Other Felicitous Persuasions (U.Minnesota Press, 2008).