"Six of Swords (Reversed)"

He could not say her name, for her name was made up of letters no longer in the alphabet.
— Enrico Pea, “Moscardino”

i: personal ad


SWM, 22

in search of poet

leggy, age unimportant

blonde and intelligent

spelling counts


you'll turn heads

on the street, we'll be

a handsome couple


we'll write each other

poems, such poems

as the world has never seen

lines that alternate

between my passion

and your restraint


you’ll know the difference

between meaningless sex

and true subsumption

in one another, are eager

to spend all night in exploration


and spelling counts


ii: manual


how you jumped when your

fingers grazed mine against

the stick shift, perfect shock

of accidental stroke 


and how we ended that first

date both wanting that kiss

good-bye but neither of us

realized it until we talked

on the phone that night

and how I came and got 

it the next day in your 

dorm room and stayed three 

days and we never left the bed


iii: nomenclature


your name was abbreviated

at Ellis Island but still contains

every sound in the universe


from the honey of the first

syllable to the blaze of the last

with ancient civilizations

strung between like paper lanterns


from cuneiform to braille

you are with me


iv: the woods at dusk


the playground too close

to the road so back into the trees

and seconds after you passed

the first trunk you were naked

waited for me to follow but then

ran off again, played that game

again and again until your foot

slipped on a patch of wet leaves

and you fell back into my arms

and kissed me as I slipped

this garnet on your finger


iv: small waste


we were born 

on valentine;s day

and got cancer 

on july 4


it makes perfect

sense: to turn a house

into a hive you add

another bee

no one said it

would make you

slough your fur,

harden your shell


smooth your barb 

to sting again and again


until easter

when the peaches

blossom and 

the juice

becomes more

exciting again


v: cow’s eye


and your old dealer/new 

boyfriend treats you like 

shit you say but you stay 

with him because he always

gets the best drugs


school is just a distant

memory now, good thing

you called off the marriage

before you spent all that 

money on the dress, you sure

found a better use for it


but every time you load 

the needle you wonder

what would happen if you

filled it just a little farther


vi: memories


they say there are no good

poets under the age of thirty

but it seems to me Rimbaud

and Daumal and Marlowe

would disagree and let’s be

honest if you don’t think 

youngsters have had any 

experiences worth the ink

then I envy you such

a complacent existence


vii: cedar


and so when I heard you died

with a needle in your arm

(and I wish I could say

your engagement ring on your

finger but I’m sure it had been

sold years before)


I counted out my sentiments

packed them away around your body

and smothered you

with royal jelly and superglued

the lid shut but somehow I can


still taste you in chili and lox

smell you in cigarettes and fabric

softener, hear you in every

porn clip featuring a lithe blonde

with small tits and a fondness 

for threesomes

About the author

November 2018 marked Robert Beveridge's thirtieth anniversary as a publishing poet. When not writing, he makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Pink Litter, Triadæ, and Welter, among others. 

Robert Beveridge