Poetry by Florence Lenaers

Art: Out 1

Unreliable Narrator

This sentence grinds my reading certainties turns them to mince leaves an aftertaste with a question dangling its feet do a question have feet a question needs feet to escape your answering it you know that don’t you do you fancy fancy burgers they are no regular burgers should I fire up the grill I cannot find the hairdryer have we ever had one to begin with A then B then C that’s the Latin alphabet I will teach our daughter to spell her name if we have a daughter and if she has a name that’s a lot of ifs conditional constructs are useful when you write a computer program please program the dishwasher to make me a sandwich for a change that won’t do I know carrots dangle to make me work overtime so I can buy extra pairs of socks why care about meaning when you can care about price tags I bought eighteen pairs of socks that’s all I have to declare when new evidence and a hedgehog emerge from recession the state of emergency gets laid and funding from the European Union I ruin a pair of socks when stepping in a puddle of milk gone off curse in a language I don’t really know that well let’s have a drink latte e menta our daughter’s milk teeth will grow an overnight construction work will keep the neighbour awake I know he will mind I hope he won’t mind as much as those guys Ivan and Henry who planned to blow up the Eiffel Tower because it kept them awake I will make sure that my daughter’s milk teeth don’t shine in the neighbour’s eyes just to be safe oh honest I don’t care that much about the Eiffel Tower sure as a landmark marking the land it is useful to make it clear that a scene is taking place in Paris to lead the audience astray thank you for not smoking to make them believe it’s Paris while it has been someone else all along the way what about Helen does Helen sound blue red purple we might name our daughter Helen maybe not Hector except if our daughter turns out to be our son baby socks are cute when the baby grows you can keep the socks to treasure things pebbles collected on the shore before taking your clothes off and Troy back pebbles painted with all the alphabets pebbles as itsy-bitty as milk teeth milk teeth fragments from the owner’s manual of the hairdryer we don’t own all this would imply I get pregnant before the end of chapter enter a number check the test double check the control line the test line is it purple triple check you cannot afford reading certainties when you live with an unreliable narrator.


they ask Mars

they ask Mars
——————how does it feel
when we land this there right there?

——————how red are you
today how about your weather today
your storms of dust marching this way
or that?

is it an electric field waving hello to them?
or is it telling them to go
—————————-red themselves? beep.

Mars is not home. prob-
————————ably running an errand

or two with his sons the two of them filial
————————satellites Panic & Fear
treating them to milkshakes of the belli-
cose kind kind kind shake the milk
————————watch the froth
————————Venus rising.

land me a kiss land me a war lullaby
land me a lander in the small of the back
————————yard yard yard yards away
from home.

they bump Mars’ shoulder from a distance
————————-a question drone
————————-how does it feel?
a bump is a bump is a bump maybe too hard

your cheeks are red your atmosphere dusty
red-cheeked god tell us about
————————iron kissing iron
————————blood kissing blade.

they ask Mars they probe Mars they orbit Mars
———————–would-be shield-piercers
———————–fraud sons
———————–loving followers.

they ask Mars.


Garden Party

Neighbors are celebrating with a barbeque. They started the fire with good old dried resolutions, starting from love your neighbor as yourself—the words frizzled and spat and curled up till they held no more meaning than the ghost catchphrase of a peeling billboard. To mark the day Neighbors gave their picket fence a fresh coat of white paint, crowned it with a garland—light-reaping barbed- wire garland—that adds a sliver to the smug smiles flashing over the pristine yet still sticky picket fence. They joke about which passage from the declaration of human rights should be written on the other side so as to inspire passersby. But the street is full of noises, people stepping in puddles of sour milk, cursing in languages regained. The street is littered with headlines, the sewers cluttered with clotted numbers. Neighbors are celebrating.

Florence Lenaers is currently a physics PhD student at the University of Liège (Belgium), where she weaves tales of atoms trapped in cages of light & castles of magnetic field lines. Her poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Strange Horizons, And Other Poems, Tupelo Quarterly and The Tangerine.

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