poems by Jade Riordan

Winter Carousel


If I crack open an imported coconut

& carousel horses stream out like gold

embossed milk. If I sip the milk-paint

from sunset hued manes, brighten

my tuneless tongue. Bleed across

the pale green saddle like my sex freed.


If moondust carnations bloom from polar

bears’ raw, winter-soft jaws like tundra

kissing the equator. & I leap, cold &

Arctic fox-pelted, between the teeth-

haloed heads of half a dozen harp seals.

Between the glossy, varnished borders

decorating a partial world            map.


If I sand every remaining meridian line

into smooth ocean. Clench my jaw—

all angelic, all fox. & tend to, am tender

to a garden beneath the midnight sun.

O, I carve a carousel from oven-warm

macaroons, then ride a milk & wood pony

off the map’s edge & onto the moon.




Another Blue World

I sleep iridescent. Blink the spring
azure of my irises: hidden to star
-ing. Sky to twilight’s glancing prey.
I pin the flight-wrought delicacy of
my thorax to a simple cork board,
display my aorta’s small splay. I
confuse myself for an extinct species
of moth. Pretend the dusk-dust
can shimmer my imagined wings
& an imagined compass-less wind
into being. Pretend the air doesn’t
flake like rust              ed yesterdays
in the hands of time. In the hands,
my hands, pinning this life up on
display. Simultaneous myth making
and self(less) forgetting. An endless
non-REM night spent decorating
others’ rooms, others’ minds.
Other(s’) worlds.




Ornamental Rust

A sagittal plane, formed by, say, a mirror

held perpendicular to the sternum, cuts


the gentle beast of my body into right &

Latin’s sinister. The vanity-bruised Yggdrasil


of my bronchial tree; the bent light of a punch

to the gut. Every sunrise greeted by a first or


third quarter moon—half woken, half wrapped

in REM. Every moonrise the staccato envy


of a wound for the blood to rush & rust-leak

back into. To ornament the body’s sky like


bloodletting by leech made tainted reversal.




Architecture of an Ending

is blueprinted on iridescent beetle
casings & the velvet listening
of rabbit ears. In the blue-black bruise
of squid ink & the ghost milk
of my left eye’s vitreous humour.
Design drawn to the scale of hauntings.
Windows like widows. Doors to
accommodate the dear & the damned
—virtuous, vicious entrance.
Floor plan overlaid with secret passage
-ways, inlaid with secret markings

directing one away—skyward, dirtward.
Toward the apocalypse of a utopia.




All The Little Hopes

like starlings or kindling or end

-ling. Murmuration of lasting

flame, last flame.


The embodiment. The liquid

warble, the mouth’s delicate

pucker around combustion.

Around the epilogue that tastes

only of hunger


—succulent suckling

of bone marrow & dental pulp

from the sly grace of another (self).

Another (faith in) tomorrow.

(In its trembling, its darling.)


poems by Jade Riordan

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