CLAUDIA GARY’s latest chapbook is Genetic Revisionism. She is also author of Humor Me (David Robert Books, 2006) and chapbooks including Bikini Buyer’s Remorse, Let’s Get Out of Here, and Epicurigrams, all available from the author. A writing instructor, health journalist, and composer of art songs and chamber music, she lives near Washington D.C. Her workshops at The Writer’s Center ( on Villanelle, Sonnet, Natural Meter, Poetry vs. Trauma, and other topics are currently accessible worldwide via Zoom. See; follow @claudiagary

The Mad Scientist’s Subjects

Here in the lab-coat pocket where we ride,
our galaxy between odd scraps of lint
and roughly scribbled theorems, we’re beside
ourselves with astronomic wonderment.
Is this a place where time is relative,
an episodic groove that opens toward
and then away from starlight? Do we live
within a field where each day is a chord,
one moment in an old celestial song?
Our universe diffuses while we listen
and thrive on melody. Drifting along
within our microcosmic trance, we glisten
and spark in recognition of our host,
who floats, euphoric, still undiagnosed.

The Littlest Angel

After we made our sequin-covered halos
from crepe paper, pipe cleaners, wire hangers,
to wear for the First Grade Play, I pulled dried glue film
from every square inch of my palms and fingers.

Our star was perfect for his role, with dark
thick lashes, gleaming eyes, angelic aura.
Years afterward I learned he’d never reached
his forties. Was it suicide? AIDS? War?

He paid a heavy price for coexisting
with brutes and yet avoiding malice,
for peeling off the newest layer of skin
whenever it became a callus.


In tonight’s dream I am a funnel cloud
that dips one spinning toe
into the earth

scattering deep-set trees, adjusting brick walls.
You hurry to the middle
of your cottage

and hear my hollow voice as a freight train
that looms, approaches, runs through,
trails away.

The sky no longer green, I turn to vapor
oblivious to wreckage
and to a steel-

girded concrete last-resort saferoom
that has protected you.
You are my heart.

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