By exhaling in unison, we grew our breath in crystals. We blew a glass throat. Our vowels spread like static in the plural space. Their hollows twinned. Their ions echoed red. This was when we learned that the oxygen in snow can be used to summon speech. This was when we started sleeping in the memory room.
Tracking the Dislocated Echo
Frost finds an aphid's wing and the machines release an unintended song. Its pitch is paper. It echoes wrong. As the echo travels milky cables, the machines grow steam. I search my pockets for pink wing fragments. I taste a pill's ink. The seeds I scatter on the snow perform my only memory of a map.
I shift in time to catch you speaking orange steam. You make a fox expression and I experience a new range of heat. An unbreathing pause wraps around us like fabric. The steam tastes like salt. It makes me speech-tired. I am already used to all of this. The seeds in my pocket. Your pearled tongue. The embryonic echoes taking shape between my teeth.
Matthew Mahaney is the author of Your Attraction to Sharp Machines (BatCat Press, 2013). His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Caketrain, Colorado Review, Skydeer Helpking, & ILK. He currently lives in Tuscaloosa, and teaches at the University of Alabama.