Laurie Byro


The beasts hear sounds out of range of human
ears: ghost animals, bone birds, tiger ribs,
the fangs of orangutans leer up at snail

snipped clouds. These spirit-voices, these howls are left
to smolder. The echo of a car beeping at the entrance
becomes a madrigal, a gull’s cry, a taunting

chimpanzee. We waited the entire summer, stupid
and steady. They waited as well, my jeans snaked
around your brown leather clogs. Echoing:

thump, thump—the pecked-blue eye of an ostrich
dulled grey by smoke. The riches of the lost chamber,
the cages of the heart. Rousseau grasses like

a hinged sign rides fine up past our hips. You take me
on this winged jaunt, the snarl and grunt of ghost-flight.
You chase me along the scarred path that leads out.

We are caught quivering in the pinprick of light,
blinded by the bluff of the rifle’s steel flash. Let’s go:
I beg. You taste, you taste: la petite morte,

my annihilation, my slow dance of death.
I watch your promises break into gasps.
My stripes disappear into the moon’s toothy grin.

Laurie Byro lives off a dirt road in the backwoods of NJ. Her husband, Mr Byro, is a soothsayer. He spends most of the night playing the banjo to the cat. This gives Laurie space to create her breathless wordscapes. She sees them as feral creatures which have escaped from the cage of her imagination and established a free life in the shared world. She likes it best when her poems run away from her, refuse food, bite the hand that feeds them. Mr Byro plinks out Oh Susanna. The cat cries, chases the poems into the woods. Sometimes after midnight she comes back with bloody paws. Laurie is available for tupperware parties and stag nights. She makes fondue and molds marzipan. She was born under the sign of wanton desire. Her Mars and Neptune are perfectly aligned.

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