Ashley VanDoorn





scrutiny device


many hourglasses
pass as I am made
lean in
the house
of splinters—
miniscule stirring
prey many
hundred times
less than
themselves toward
several stomachs—
spawn attach
to human hairs
threaded through
bitten nails
so I sew
a moss-puppet
army hidden in
a cork-carved forest,
pet-fur bestiary
roaming a pebble
and wax many-aisled
of convergence
and unraveling—
to countershade
a sham machine
I snip the lacework
of winter by sunbulb,
throng my pin-bones
full of notches
into the vaults
of your garments





obscene device


           cloud        ©                                         © headshot
          ©heart                     finger       ©
          gut   ©                                      soak               ©
          ground                      ©                                             severed ©
                                                            X scene which should not be seen X

I’ve been looking-influenced
but decided by looking away
one of me seems labyrinth
one of me seems laboratory
experimentally kissing lipstick-
smeared CPR dummies until
it becomes mica-apparent
to be afraid of offspring is
to fear the already gone

relationship = imagining
someone else imagining you
entering again the exit
of the infinite not long intimate
wakes a no-go which shows
almost a domain mainly thrall
random is tandem kingdom

in your activating mirror to
learn to keep breathing is like
(breathe in): on the equator
lies an egg-shaped island
where there is a cave full
of whirring birds that suck
goats and grow so fat
that natives stick wicks
through them to candle
the chain of buckets
carrying cargo across
the lake of both boiling
and firm pitch furrowed
by fissures of cool water
crossed by planks (breathe

out): all this pricked
on a backlit print on which
puppets stitch silhouettes
insisting the origin of light
is not the story of light—
in a certain light we all
are gorgeous which is why
we’re capable of anything
why behind one face
something’s chained
to a blade behind another
fire floating on a hook





device for hope


     xx                                  d_ _ ire
<  ()  >                              —o(us)
                     (best recycler)

five light bulbs        of unequal        dimness
shine on five things casting five shades of shadow
on the lit wall:     black     dark     steel     ash     white-
which-is-not-quite-light        plus a fly clinging

to glare on the wall        by a wing        which the half-
crushed body hangs to as if by a thread thinner
than the almost-        microscopic guts        trailing
out of its thorax        near-invisible legs        dropped

to the grass-        green floor        or is the fly a fingerprint
blossom        sun        above a table        horizon between viewer
and viewed        five things        cast five shadows        in five shades
and none of them human:        another lamp        (stars un-turned on)

mountainous stack of books        (or is it an accordion)
thick-stemmed goblet        (half heart-colored wine)
splitting stone plant rooted in rocks        (spitting image)
cave-shaped telephone        (cliff unhooked from sky)

the fly’s thousand-        mirrored eye        illusions outside
edge-like        imprecise        angles slip        entirely back
as easy as paying attention        to words hard to understand
wings        uncovered feast        the fly might        writhe