Gray's Anatomy Fig. 425


en route to the ward    a deer that tried to jump the fence    in deep

snowpack    misjudged    an inch or two gave way   

    unseasonable warmth         a circle of men surround

he has stopped convulsing    on the second floor they must

    turn faces away    the men    unlike the deer

        unsure        they squeeze into their gloves        try

to avoid eyes        unlike        in a poem    a man pushes it

over the edge       pity soft to touch    heavy or anchored    traveling

    en route to the ward            patient        I watch them work

unable to explain    to you        in allotted time

Postcard From White Alice

locals call it Nomehenge


only things untouched by snow

some days

or message in permafrost

they hunch and loom, cloaked

and bearded in ice

scenes of Magadan

gather round in Cold War




big as drive-in screens

McCarthy film festival

            silent or tundra

flood lights, beep

beep of changing reels

            auroras blitzing the sky

below snow banks shove up against sea ice

like lovers’ quarrel, small strait between turned backs

            a horizon

sole signs of life in a whiteout

            or international date line

signal dead twenty years

names painted on steel like credits

            Diomedes’ deviants

their aging the groan

of airplane engines

            when the water freezes

            between the islands

some still come, concert of white noise

or to walk dogs, encoded fucking

            Yupics ask soldiers of tomorrow

            walk into it, and cross back to wait

or the one drunk who didn’t come home

reversed his car off the back of Anvil Mountain



fell three hundred feet

like a bomb, unexploded and waiting

            wind along the concave

an impossible sign of distress


Braasch and Sullivan, or the Last Dual Spectacle


we package our ghosts    a little to the left    black or white with accent    ribbons round

the wrists    rubbed to blood    a bow to bring the point    home    draped over breath


make it tight


this, the first day of the rest

etc. soon

it will be just

us and only we

have to live

with that.

of the eight,

five minds resting

easy. each believing

they were Hippocrates.

for two,

the difference immeasurable

smaller than angels

dancing. and me,

I muffle

my heart with my hat

and look down

deep into cement.

knowing sound

cannot be trusted,

and no one lies

behind the curtain.


The world gets a little bit smaller for you. Trees must be downed and shredded. To blanket

the floor. Catch the part of you that flees. Cows butchered to keep you from yourself. Homes left empty so eyes know you. The belly of the earth rendered once and rounded to keep you still. Life cultivated to ripeness. And again to forget you. Which is, of course, absurd.

IV. Protocol

to stage an execution.

to applaud the proper taking of direction.

to follow along in the program

to chill at the rising falling lung of curtain

to get in the last word

    unheard by the audience

to soliloquy

    that is, to each his own

to narrate what seems mimicry

    the highest form of flattery


to confuse the dark with intermission

to lather the dislocation of sound and sight in the room

to clean with it

to know one’s lines


to make religious the experience

    via ritual

    a reduction

    which is litany in costume.

V. Call


smell of gasoline

small town still

morning frost

on windshields

a key in lock

or boots in snow

crawls over land

for miles sound

is a sign creaking

in wind a beacon

or phone calling

out back endless

as a road.


Michael McLane earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Colorado State University. His work has appeared in numerous journals, including Interim, Colorado Review, Matter Journal, Sugahouse Review, and Laurel Review, among others. He currently lives in Salt Lake City where he works for a rare book dealer and serves on the board of City Art, the longest-running reading series in the state.

Copyright © 2010 Otis Nebula