Issue > Poetry
Terese Svoboda

Terese Svoboda

Terese Svoboda's When the Next Big War Blows Down the Valley was published in 2015. Anything That Burns You: A Portrait of Lola Ridge, Radical Poet was published in 2016, as was Professor Harriman's Steam Air-Ship . She will be at Yaddo, VCCA and Hawthorden Castle this year, finishing her seventh novel.

Untimely Ripped

New studies—confessions—
                                           show the brain
everywhere, that EEGs are but a single line
of body music,

that stomachs as well as eyes think.

And the spirit? Removing the liver has caused
a corpse
to sit up or scream. 

Is it the reflex
behind a shudder, the quick pullback from fire?


       When brown trickled from your mouth,
not blood really
                         but from some rusted
your future appeared only in others.

The scalpel cut the cornea
while you watched but could not blink.  

              Defining death is a convenient business,

the protocol takes only the time of
a dental cleaning,
                            and changes nearly yearly.

I did not know this, only that a dead liver

won't work, without the brain
the body decays,
                                           its messengers
fall prey or sleep.

Why not imagine pain
a part
of the body too         anesthetic

       the benefit of the doubt.

Ride Out of I

The four seated
               wave screens
Russian on one
with a flag
                       ours on his sleeve

               just below the Hassid's
               flat hat
       past one girl singing
       to another about cell service
about the marvelous
               Rasta  on the back
       pack leaning away, away and the guy
       beside the coat who
holds a plastic stegasaurus
or tyrano-                                 a pink-shoed woman

a ridged penis-like plug
       from her purse, bar-
       coded and ready
for outlet
                        Smart water Smart water
The ride goes on too long   40 minutes
               some bridge I'm not
       supposed to cross
                               but her lip hair, the woman I--
       where else does she grow it?

       the socked foot of an adult-dressed
infant    head in shadow
head so still  the paint smudges on the jeans
       as ellipsis.


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