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Wyvern Lit

Excerpt from "Katabasis"

Poetry by Antonina Palisano


Whatever its real name
The feeling is absurd


            Something lights the spark


It always starts in a matrix
Weather, illness


            Dough for the bread


The early impulse

I assign a reason





Unwillingness to cancel or postpone


Liking it


Spitting or other provocations
Crossing water



The wrong door


Duration of embrace


Due diligence
Holding a beloved object


Increased tolerance for the unpleasant
Willingness to be called beloved


The hypnic jerk




When the systems of the body fail in a pattern

This is the error catastrophe

Each moment unmade

By its quick intimacy

Distance brighter than the eye
Brighter            than what I remember as an eye





 Again the dream of the river

Today the scene is empty


            I admit I was warned

There was a sense of things queasy

            or skewed


But my god, the lawn running down

and the red swell of the water

the sudden lush of grass along the bank

and the pliancy at the edge

how the current seemed respirant

the ground steep and verdant

more than any desire

the elision, the collapse


            I tell you I came as I am


When you’ve seen it happen

You’ll understand how it announces itself


This is why we burn the dead


I know what turns the body as it rots

I know the softest parts recede


It seemed wrong that anything should touch you

But water or fire


Wrong that you diminish

By slow degrees


(You were never patient)


Antonina Palisano holds an MFA in Poetry from Boston University. She works and reads on grief culture, Greek myths, lobotomies, tubercular dreamboats, and domestic anhedonia. Recent publication credits include Third Point Press, Quaint Magazine, and inter|rupture.