Bill Yarrow


Man reached in the car­cass of the Lord
and tore Satan from the rib of God.
The moun­tains of humil­i­ty went silent,
the rain of regency dried its eyes,
and the clouds of unknow­ing began to know.
Snow mas­querad­ing as kind­ness ballooned
into bom­bast as the world washed its hands
of world­li­ness. Then indif­fer­ence, stiff as a
wom­bat penis, stirred and woke from the dream
of cas­cad­ing penury. I am imbri­cat­ed by the
slabs of dead ideas. I am teased by vaults of
no gold. Ghosts hold me to votes I disavow.
There is a for­mi­da­ble hole in the latent sky.
It takes all my strength not to wor­ship it.


Mad Love

There’s blood on your cheek,

—Dr. Gogol

The time they drove through Delaware
lis­ten­ing to Poogy, plan­ning the future

and she sat up like a Chagall bride, told
him she was afraid. “Of what?” he asked

Of an icy life,” she said. No fear of that,
he assured her, and she believed him, madly


Disappearing Ink

The inverse of dis­ap­pear­ing ink
is invis­i­ble ink, writ­ing (with
lemon juice, for exam­ple) which
can be seen only when warmed
(that is to say, burned). I guess,
their mar­riage was kind of like that,
him writ­ing with ink that disappeared
over time, her writ­ing with ink no one
could see. As the years passed, she could
no longer find him, though she looked hard.
As the years passed, he couldn’t read her
(could he ever?) even as she became heated.
They didn’t run out of each other’s ink.
They just grew tired of read­ing, I think.


When the Translator Disappears, the Translation Withers and Dies

The kid­nap­ping of the translator
made big news for a short time
but then the gen­er­al incomprehensibility
of things resumed and everyone,
except Lorraine, went back to work.
Lorraine refused to extend the futility
of human communication—what was
the point? she want­ed to know. What
was the point of speak­ing if, now that
the trans­la­tor had been kidnapped,
no one (no one!) could deci­pher what she
or any­one else had to say? Lorraine could
not fath­om how peo­ple could return to work.
How was work even pos­si­ble? she wondered.
An iron silence began to oppress her as she
slept. It crept into her body and she felt herself
inca­pable of rais­ing her arms in greet­ing or to
ward off a blow. She sank deep into bitterness,
dread­ing the dawn and the sight of neighbors
egre­gious in their pre­tense of mean­ing­ful speech.
She pined for the return of the trans­la­tor who
became mes­sian­ic in her eyes. Her dreams became
denud­ed of images, infused only with two lines
of unvary­ing dia­logue. “Come back to me.” “Can’t.
Can’t you see I’ve nev­er left?” It was the translator
speak­ing. He was hold­ing her in his arms. He was
look­ing at her with the ten­der­ness she so terribly
craved. She felt, sud­den­ly, as if for the first time,
under­stood. And she under­stood per­fect­ly, perfectly,
the repressed caress of words that poured from his mouth.