from x y a &&
by Pattie McCarthy
a couple of breaks of sunshine over
the next couple hours, what little sun
shine there is left. a view that outranks
me : two baseball fields, two bridges, the dome
(golden) of a church I can’t identify.
a ludicrous little halo. a noun
formal or technical. moxibustion
vertex frank footling complete. (she turns) she
turns (she turned) her own version. like ploughing
a field like a furrow like verse or versus
(preposition) against or toward furrow
like a harrow (what a harrow is for)
verso (on the turned) like the turn in a sonnet.
sleep with arms around my children, as if—
II. 1 – 3. Kenneth Goldsmith, The Weather.
6 – 7. Mina Loy, “Parturition.”
14. Julie Carr, 100 Notes on Violence.
both nuns & mothers worship images.
under a spire at the piano.
thistles, birds’ nests to the left of the church.
boys build a ringfort & say carry me.
I ordered in the Starbucks demotic.
he mows the lawn into a labyrinth.
he mows the lawn into a striped outfield.
xxx see also : hexenmilch each of us carries
around a set of shibboleths with totemic
reverence meanwhile we trample blithely on spells
xxx & hexes we have never heard of
a rückenfigur, himself, the two boys
triangulate, after dinner baseball—
children playing against mud, against sand
XV. 1. William Butler Yeats, “Among School Children”
8 – 11. “hex,” OED etym. (Word Study 1968)
14. Laura Walker, Swarm Lure.
Author’s Note: x y z && is a sonnet sequence that uses quotation as a frame. As a general rule, the sonnets use quotation in the first & last lines or sentences, though this does vary. x y z && is the third sonnet sequence I’ve written using this general frame— one after the birth of each of my children (the others are ‘spaltklang : is good broken music’ in Table Alphabetical of Hard Words & ‘oyer’ in L&O). The Roman numerals with the citations indicate the sonnet’s place in the sequence. x y z && is forthcoming as a chapbook from Ahsahta Press later this year.
Photo credit: Karen Rile
Pattie McCarthy is the author of six books: two forthcoming, nulls (Horse Less Press) & Quiet Book (Apogee Press), as well as Marybones, Table Alphabetical of Hard Words, Verso, & bk of (h)rs (all from Apogee). She has three chapbooks forthcoming in the next year: scenes from the lives of my parents (Bloof Books), x y z && (Ahsahta Press), and fifteen genre scenes (eth press). A former Pew Fellow in the Arts, McCarthy teaches at Temple University.