Ann Danilina

Epistle: The Verisimilitude of Ruin

Imal, tell me you never enjoyed the back seat of a car. Or that the ice-burn of the leather seat you shared with one, maybe two others, wasn’t a balm that moved lengthwise along your single pain. I had a name, but it didn’t matter. I was respected, had famous friends. I had rooms of people fight for my coat, letters from Martin Luther King with my name on them. But that didn’t matter—I wanted a forgotten alley or a dim phone booth. The Pasadena street was empty and I knew that I wanted my jacket, its world of lonely pockets, peeled. I wanted the car that turned the corner, and the window that rolled down. My face running back to me from Harlem, from Westchester, rich with the memories of hands; ringed fingers, carpenter rough and legal smooth, passing me upward, higher, to see the hunger of a some weather-worn man, some poor boy starved for this criminal softness. I could buy a wafer’s comfort with this, just a moment of it. And tell me you don’t want that too…go on. Make believe you haven’t gone blind at the drag of a man’s thinly carpeted thigh, the gravity of the smell. Yes, let’s hear it; that the impossible light of an officer’s siren wasn’t worth a descent into the sky. If you tell me now, once my mouth has finally closed, I promise I’ll believe you.



Epistle: Damaged Love/Freedom Drive

Sweat-cleaved from the nightmare, I flip a switch that codes the day and I chose to ignore the feeling of the fratboy still groping me, his wand of bills embarking, opinions drunk as weeds. I make a bird out of his left eyeball because I know the sky it comes from; I know beauty coaxed from impure force and given world to roam.

An unchecked theft of moans won’t change the thread count of his pirated t-shirt, won’t make other nouns more buoyant; my background won’t become any clearer, despite a new angle of inquiry. I’ll simply put it further out of reach, where it’ll acquire time travel.

For a noun to uphold all that it is, singularity must reign somewhere behind sense; its gate must be calcified—so Grandma said. Molecular divorce, is what I thought, foolishly.

My Grandma would smash a grill for burning me, she loved cold. She loved our windows dressed with bullets. She loved squadrons of hounds in her pantyhose. She loved to leave cups of liquor in my reach, before a delicious law could snap in me. She was a mean love that way; she loved a latched gate, and a dead landlord beneath the steps, and all things of heaven made cold to touch and safe to house.

She loved me bi-form,
in the thrush.

Bayard, she told me—
Even the most well raked affection
is lethal when it thinks
only you are looking.



Epistle: Infinity is mean but still cook for yall tho


Imal, it’s true; your single white v-neck is all it takes. Look at you—brow bent against boulevard concern to the noontime of your daily doing. The community of feeling has a complement for your losthood and tore up subtleties. Your corkscrew hair, ingrown and felt. Your squad patrolling immanence. A traffic of intuition tolls the lone white tee, O, life sweetly targeted, it’s true—I love your children. I am glad at the proof of schools on your block. I live at the sound of an eight year-old voice demanding When do facts become physical? The dark berry I left in your infant mind became the yew that unifies. Or, to say clearly, you all became competent souls.



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