Marty Cain

and when I got into my own fields
I did not know them

John Clare

+ + +

And inside our minds: burial manor, I mean it. And inside the manor: shelves of liquor and cans of Skoal. And inside the Skoal: cadmium and lead. And inside aluminum: the hatred of parents. And inside authority: floorboards rotting, microbes collapsing. And beneath the floorboards: alkaline soil, yellow philodendron. And beneath its crust: a nest of worms. And inside the worms: a whitish substance, a sensory membrane. And inside that membrane: a conscious star. And inside the star: years before, massacres after. And inside those years: powerline nostalgia. And inside the wire: plow-sparks on the asphalt, 8 degrees, unfelt fingers. In the chasm of sparks: how time moves, how it consumes. In that rampant consumption: a garreted attic. Inside that attic: deceased rodents, unopened presents. Inside a present: a crawlspace of labor. Inside that labor: the acquisition of capital. Inside that capital: distortions on a screen. Inside that screen: a crystal display. Inside the ocean: networks of cable, coral reefs. Inside that cable: kinesis, either undirected or in response to a stimulus. If in response to a stimulus: unending pain. And inside that pain: unending data. Inside that data: a canopy of survival. And inside that canopy: a failing bookstore, its bills unpaid. And inside that store: an elderly tabby, asleep on the counter. And inside that cat: the smell of parchment; pieces of thread; two house flies; the brain of a sparrow; a luxuriant heart. And inside that heart: the energetic origin. And in that origin: the sound of water. And in that water: some kind of language. And in that language: some vowelbody, some organic movement. And inside the organ: strands of DNA, a chest of wind. Inside that chest: the smell of pine; of cannabis; of lavender. Inside that lavender: asleep on the sofa. Inside that sofa: the earwig genus. Inside the genus: a memory held, the rusted grass retaining a history of sun. Inside the sun: transferrable dreams. Inside those dreams: nests of stuffing. Inside that suffering: nests of light, nostalgia, media decaying. Inside that light: a Lion King tape. Inside the shelf: pieces of yarn and nylon thread, a dot of semen, violent longing. Inside that violence: visions of corpses. Inside those corpses: visions of tulips. Inside those tulips: a colony of aphids. Inside an aphid: the potential for breath. Inside each breath: real estate, dismembered arms. Inside each state: electric fences with dried-up flesh. Inside each skin cell: the rise of empire. Inside each empire: legions of numbers. Inside each number: legions of hoards. Inside each hoard: the memory of blood. Inside the blood: the empire glowers.


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Marty Cain is the author of Kids of the Black Hole (Trembling Pillow, 2017), a book-length poem, and Four Essays (Tammy, 2019), an experimental memoir chapbook. Individual works appear or are forthcoming in Fence, Best American Experimental Writing, Sink Review, Tarpaulin Sky, Dreginald, and elsewhere. He lives in Ithaca, New York, where he co-edits Garden-Door Press, helps run the Party Fawn Reading Series, and is writing a Ph.D dissertation on poetry community in the rural United States.

Winter 2018

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Sink Review publishes poetry and criticism. We are excited by experimental and conceptual work. It is our goal to create a space that is inclusive and radical.

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