by Peter Schwartz

love has no watermark
toys of chance and belonging
play by the seawall

the psychology of exits
penetrates our movements
like antiseptic;
an aquarium

filled with tomorrow’s pills
floats past our ears; we are
forever’s little mascots

at any minute
by two handfuls
of nothing.

mr. widowhood
walks the streets; tries to corner
the rain with vulnerability
but suddenly

falls silent to his blueprints
these are lyrical flaws; the young
and old counting and comparing
what is shelved

to see who will ultimately
rule the shadows where
everything flashes

like prehistoric fish
through a kind of traffic
we are only just beginning
to understand.

we make conversation
with postcards; wear jewelery at the
very edge of becoming

pack two small coffins
one with peaches; the
other with etiquette

because this is a green
audition, darkened (again)
with lyrical flaws

our wardens respond
only with the great

these weathered words
will pay for a secondhand rose
or be canceled out like clocks

as forever’s little mascots
make braver and braver
masks; O great

green veranda!

after all this there will
be soap and flowers.

Peter Schwartz has more styles than a Natal Midlands Dwarf Chameleon. His poetry’s been published on sites like Arsenic Lobster, Diagram, and Epicenters, and journals like The Silt Reader and Asheville Poetry Review. His chapbook ghost diet will be out this spring. See the extent of his shenanigans at

Editor’s note: “nostrum” is reprinted here. It first appeared on

Back to Issue Three: Spring 2009