Romances by Steven Adams

Here is a rose
or something like one

Here is a cathedral
and when she screams
it loosens the screws

in the next house

Here is a note smooth as vowels
and when sung it makes out
like church bells

Proof of non-inhabitants

Here is a crime inside a sentence
sentenced to death inside
a thought

Here are hands made for hands
made of

• land
• of and for the sea

Here is a mans world
a mans word with a feminine accent

Here is a riot doubled-
over until thick as sperm

Here is a she
when she licks it is
a radiator in a tundra

• a rose in a marsh
• voices on paper
• a ukulele in Guantanamo

Here is pain

Squirm like wounded dogs
and people in love
and love like masses in deep space


Here is a vulture

Teach the vulture

  1. to love another vulture
  2. to cherish the dead
    in other ways (when not starving)
  3. To mother like a human

Here is a cadaver

Play the backbone like a cello
and then the skin

• like a musical saw
• like Pavarotti sung Ave Maria
• like

children in spring
in dirty cloths

how they love
the soft of bone

the simplicity of sequence

Here is a suicide

How properly you lay
down on the vertical tanto

the way of the Bushido gentleman
turned ninety degrees toward the core
(another kind of romance)
Mirrors before a kiss
(another kind of romance)

Here are bats
Bats always see right through each other

Here are crows
Crows in twilight don’t always know
where they’re going
(another kind of romance)

2014, 2nd Place Poetry Winner