Three Severance Songs — Josh Corey

The music man wears a high hat. Laugh while you can.
Striped is his uniform, his xylophone back.
Vaudeville’s ghostly tooth. Trombone rust.
Instead of walking on water, waltzing, to waltzing...
This was always a small town on the edge of the plains.
Rain in the east. We never inquired,
even when lightning was heard on the steeple.
He came for the children and rats, for classical learning
and Lydian airs. Gave us a pleasing, intolerable scare.
Left the west, plinking. That temple horn
lifted out of roofs the tornado sky, finger of wind
like an answer to thinking: imagination forestalls.
His grin an entirety, a smile of the eyes
into law’s human keeping. Fled is that music—


Rain spills from valueless hands followed by the real
rain. The brightness on your tongue could be anyone’s,
even mine—countless plashes as of off-white
taken for light. That color, my pupil, my walls.
For a southpaw righteousness belongs to the book.
Stand still holding hands with white wings opening
to shield your gaze from the affectlessness
of covered cornices, the fluorescent public,
malls standing without an outside letting space
shift for itself. How are you? Your message
would terrify me but your mouth opens and
the paper in it rustles and caws. That should
intimate, close the gap, fail again to coexist
with the moisture of the air we occupy.


Cup of three fingers fits and forms the split,
wriggles lambently, condenses to slick down
prank’d hairs, pinks point by point any strip
of skin from here to here, under the prickle where
rough runs smooth, salt deposits sparking
there and there—armpit, upper lip’s dimple,
nape, hip-hollow, stray boned hard and soft
from tip to taint, dip to stick, sip to state.
Nap of the earth under radar rumbles ratio—
count not or count on freezes perfecting
flush of every lip, heat principally
tiding, biding, bearing rising action
into this present tense engorgement, engaged
entre nous, to enter you as wine, to be drunk.

typo magazine — issue three