Vincent Toro





Callow.                        I once wore you like a limp.
You were throttling and you clung to my waist.
I crowded around the fire exit to the theater

hoping flecks of star carrion might flake off
and pollinate my mouth, and I would find myself
no longer mortified by the persistence of hunger.

Certain there was more than one way
to stop the water from rising,
I hunted down keys for the canal locks.

My ear canals inflamed, I coveted
totems I had no part in sculpting. I devoured lampposts
and out of tune bicycle racks.                        Maimed.

I limped in honor of your cellophane blush
and the rats roosted
in asphalt that threatened

to unveil me and denounce the rehearsed crimp
in my posture.                                     I was frigid
beneath sycamore sewer lines where we last

pretended to be thunder.
I wanted the floor to rise
without having to pay

the debt in bouts of nausea. I wanted to not need
the weight of compliments and I wanted to be
the melody that warded off

the catcalls of accountants
and traffic wardens.             Wingless.             I caroused
through convention halls hocking sofa covers

and commemorative plates like a dry-docked
salmon on probation.                         Defaulted.
I slipped on the epoxy of the ballroom floor
and into parrhesiac moss.

 “The Unscathed”


The Unscathed


gather in silos of saltshakers
and folded linen. They wait impatiently

for another round of green pills and butter
pats, as if there were no such thing

as a precipice. In a few minutes the factory
will receive a rush order for more artificial

limbs, carafes filled with antidotes
are served to the un-afflicted. The Unscathed

take leave of their plans to inhabit Montauk
for the month of August. Robust delivery

trucks obstruct the view of plasma drying
out on the boulevard. The Unscathed wonder

if it is too late to catch the metro north back
to the musicals they attended in the last

century. The bistro’s grade is pending,
and starlings collude upon the bell

tower, waiting for the Unscathed to drop
their pastry crusts off at the nursery.

Tea pot. Meat grinder. Cyanide kiss.
A vale of eloquent vultures. School will

let out early this afternoon. The Unscathed
will receive a message reminding them that

blood is not thicker than pixels. Undulation.
Sigh. In just a few moments someone

at the bar will complain that they have
waited far too long for their check.


Vincent Toro