Christmas Colors, Rochester, New York


1. Driving in circles

               Same strip where

three neon bagels

                stare across

a traffic signal:

                another sign, lit red

optician’s spectacles,

                starts us on Gatsby jokes,

remembering high school symbolism,

                colors sayig

danger or rebirth.

2. Only Funny Until

                The kids found a loophole

on the ban on gang colors

                in school:

Santa hats.

3. Novelty Postcard

                The squirrel nibbling a candy cane

in the park’s printed snow

                holds it upright

(clarinet, microphone)

                then sideways
(flute, corncob)

                then runs it up an evergreen

away from laughing.

4. No Name for this

                Roommates menstruating at the same time

is known as the McClintock effect.

                My brother’s roommates appear one breakfast

all four in red sweaters.

5. Carbon tricks


backwards respiration.

                The heme molecule

in mitochondria and hemoglobin

                is ring-shaped. If you replace

the middle iron atom

                with magnesium, you get


6. Budget aphrodisiacs

                Sugar fluoresces, wintergreen snaps

ultraviolet light when struck or bitten.

                Atomic Fireballs burn cinnamon, then roll

slowly to sweetness, staining the tongue.

7. Last dance or, what you will

                A papier mache fly circles the bar,

green bulb eyes glowing.

                We drink from green bottles

under a green ceiling dragon,

                dance below a replicated 50’s livingroom

tired of waiting for a good song.

You Might Also Enjoy

Diaspora Sonnet 49

Oliver de la Paz

He should have stayed home and didn’t move beyond
seeing himself in the windows of the storefronts, Vegas, Rodeo Drive,. . .



Jana Prikryl

1. Across the river her voice sends shreds
torn from something gelid, all acute
angles though the surface of each. . .


Baffler Newsletter

New email subscribers receive a free copy of our current issue.

Further Reading

 October 15

Raised in the 1990s, I have a soft spot for the exercise tape aesthetic: upbeat motivational speech, house music, and B-movie production values all mashed together.

Heads Up: We recently updated our privacy policy to clarify how and why we collect personal data. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand this policy.