Nate Maxson

Nate Maxson
is a writer and performance artist, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Two Ghosts

What’s left when you remove the bandages
The newspaper ink imprinted on meat at the butcher
Straddling two centuries like a tightrope walker
I remember, walking to school in the cold, wearing sandals

The shadow of the shadow
A coat made of imitation gloaming
Cornfields gone silent mid whisper
And a bird overhead, tiny imprint, rippling on the ground below

Mary In Reverse (2)

I’m laid down with the city-dark/ not for a death/ but a transfiguration
Hummingbirds and sparrows/ murmuration/ heartbeat/ metronome
A night sky pattern across your hips like a kiss/ sing me/ a rightness keeping the time
A firework glowing at the wick, like so/ orange cigarette end to the fuse
A Labor Day sunset/ watched from a cheap plastic swimming pool
From here, from these days between brushfires/ I would ask you
To spread me out/ against the starlight/ like Osiris/ piece by piece


A catalogue of the vaults:
The first item we come to, dredged up out of cobwebs and filmstrips
Amber ossification occurring strictly in the light which we don’t let touch us
A medieval painting of all 12 Apostles
Each with an unfinished novel, the size of which is indicated by the varying bitterness of their smiles
All with the same subject matter,
“Girls in books that haven’t been written yet and the unsettlingly far older men who love them”

Every generation wants to be the last one into the catacombs you know?
And this is how
Down in the depths, where the flashlight’s beam (long after we ceased yelling for rescue) begins
to come back round
Because it is a circle
The angel of death looks just like you or I
But made of a more solid substance than flesh or al fresco
The world-cancer
What we are convinced we deserve
What will make us whole

I know how/
Here’s how

Their hands reach to the sky and gesture at a rainbow
It took the artist twenty years to finish
Just the hands
So delicate
If you look away/ they disappear

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