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joyelle mcsweeney


one voice in the cosmic fugue

"Evolution is a fact, not a theory—it really happened.”




if any goldensealed ampule of fat or
if inside any seed a secret, wax-reeled
combover, thick mammalian ream of
key card, punchcoded
gut of ungulate
resistance document
in protein, smugglers logic
for surviving the manic selections of sapiens
at the station or market, axe and docket
the boy emperor, his sidelocks lopped
into ineluctably lucky forms
sinks into the drink
and his samurai after him
they give their faces to the crabs
who rise in the nets with the scowls of warriors
imprinted onto to their backs
increasingly human, increasingly scowling
so helpless and so warlike
so you’re the little lady who yessir nossir my beard my fat
potential sedentary deposit allwinter drive coat doves up my not
-all-tasteful inclinations
not smelling like this in
analog photography
tilt-away from earth and
into the messenger’s phial slipped
into each sleeping ear its arboreal crown of
oak leaf laurel chestnut plane tree ash each has bore
as much as it can
of this human neighborhood
its amulet of damage
finally thick enough to snap
its chain, break the neck of all of us






Joyelle McSweeney is the author, most recently, of Dead Youth, or, The Leaks, an inverted Tempest  starring Julian Assange and Henrietta Lacks and set on a hijacked containership, as well as the forthcoming book of poetics essays, The Necropastoral: Poetry, Media, Occults. She teaches at Notre Dame and edits Action Books. She is interested in bad behavior and the end of the world.