Two Poems by Kari Flickinger w/ Four Art Works by M.S. Evans

We Still Have to Make Fireworks by Hand

We have not converged since the new millenia
despite isolating in the same room, day
after day. But a good day. We set some brie into a shell
with onions from the farmbox—play
a video game where we cook as a team. No yelling—
no deciding which weapon to take on the quest

and I do not write all day.

We slip into bed
awkward, when the light is out, you slide to 11—

your mouth becomes a hot stone
curves the soft hairs of my upper

lip. No teeth. I think I need
to wax or pluck. But what
does it matter?

This is more centrifugal than I remember
it being. My boulder of a body
has only become more conspicuous.

Your beard is microwave deluge with saliva with
too much wet warm post-covid nose
-whistling—we’re gaspers, thrilling

everywhere. I remind myself, I wanted—I keep
at it. Maybe we

both need practice. I never remember needing
practice in all the years of falling translucent into beds.
But my bones are release and crackle, nodes
not-quite-slicing together. Empty brow. Elbow. Round.
Do you feel this chasm as it fills
with ice? I think. We have been over our celestial nail
then butter tray then wave winnower. We circulate
each other

for too long. I dream that I am wonderful to you. That

we are not some parallel of too fast too
hard aligning too slow
too soft. So long
a bearded man kisses a ghost in the room where

I sleep. I hold my own
neck—dream other people’s intimacy.

You were gone in a moment. Well, I needed
a few more moments.

A swift succession of windpipe
to remove my body, to remove
my head like a bauble and dance
beside—to lie. 

Your knee crossed away.

The body tells us
if we look closely. I
had not been looking
closely enough.

Some poet.

This program knew
what I would do to my hair

before I took the clippers
close to the base of my skull

in the pandemic. No
mirror to guide.

Hand behind.

The width of my arm like
the trunk of a tree slides

to the floor as if to tell you
I have given up.

The left eye holds it

while the right blinks

like a stop

light in a crushing
intersection. We see the same

Neither of us are in that one.

Art Works By M.S. Evans

  1. Banner: Blue Moon
  2. Hug Vignette
  3. Shears Vignette
  4. Kari, a portrait

Portrait of Kari Flickinger by M.S. Evans

Kari Flickinger is the author of The Gull and the Bell Tower (Femme Salvé Books, December 2020). Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and the SFPA Rhysling Award. She is an alumna of UC Berkeley and the Community of Writers. Tweets at: @KariFlickinger

M.S. Evans is a writer and visual artist. Originally from Seattle, she currently lives in her family’s old town of Butte, Montana. Her work has been published in journals including: Feral, Anti-Heroin Chic, The BeZine, Re-Side,  Versification , Black Bough Poetry, The Daily Drunk, and previously in ‘Geographies’, ‘Mother/Service/Voice’ series and “Pandemic Dispatches” from Ice Floe Press.  Twitter: @SeaNettleInk  Instagram: @/seanettleart

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