(don’t hold me to it)

a sister lives in the desert

she aloes sunburnt kids

and has a car seat in her car


and one in her yard

next to the steps between

two cats who miss her


we take a steep walk in the morning

against my mountain lion fears

the sign says worry


she says don’t so I don’t

and on the ride home

I eat the open animal crackers


mostly the back halves of hippos

that the babysit kids didn’t want

she reads me street signs


a brother uncovers his wrists

first one then you feed him

a tangerine slice


then you read a book about space

some brothers sleep in the yard

one sleeps in an olive sedan


my boyhood tried to resolve

to Nancy Sinatra

I gave myself to baseball


I’m turned around

I was Nancy Sinatra

and baseball gave to me


I think I hear the heat coming on

a car without a sister

is quiet with no toys or lights


I am a line and drive her car slow

I lean into the law

and come out a brother


I asked to be a sister’s regular

and can’t make enough room

for my luck


a sister is a teacher

but didn’t want to be a nun

a sister got thin in the desert


she asked me to be a fisher

and reach into a toilet for the duck

I took a sister out for a cocktail


in a sister’s email she said

early Gwen Stefani is our Madonna

Madonna is our Marilyn Monroe


Marilyn Monroe is a Kennedy

a brother and I hit on the ‘90s

a sister and I live in the upper room


I think that was a whistle

but from the bridge it’s trainless

only track and lights and homes


I want a brother’s number I can phone

I want a brother who wakes up


from a shake

and the sound of his name


two cats claim me in the bathroom

in the afternoon I fix a mom’s shower

with epoxy and rods


I want to split a soda

but drink half and no one’s home


a sister you could share a lizard with

a brother who won’t leave in the night


pick a number and that’s the country

pick another for the country beneath




Davy Knittle’s poems and reviews have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Fence, Jacket2, and The Iowa Review. horse less press published his chapbook, “empathy for cars / force of july,” in 2016. He lives in Philadelphia and curates the City Planning Poetics series at the Kelly Writers House.


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