Into Thick Air


by MA|DE
Issue 7: Horror

Your grimace is the pathos that belies your claw, ready to strike. It displeases most people but appeals to a few. You carry keys like talons: heaven-flexed, in preying form. No one can drop you to your knees now. The spire is coming down.

A phantom in limbo hangs agape. With hands upraised, who can say if my gesture is one of submission, frustration, or magnificat? The body’s response to the world: trying not to be a collage of ugly choices. I do not, for that matter, want to be any kind of pastiche at all. Won’t you try not to see me as a brittle mosaic of broken tiles? I am indivisible as water, never wanted to be here in the first place.

The bones of your face are a skeleton for storms to cling to. There is a key for every door. Tiny thunder sound-clouds the unlocked room, trailing in lightning flashes we can’t ever really see. What is the stage space of this precipitative dream; where do water, air, light go as they exit from the frame; what is left when water, air, light are gone? A composition of dark matter.

With hair shorn that close to the scalp, you are not to be trusted. You stitch the city together in whorls of fragile lace; erase a catalog of marks on a wild picture skinned in wax. Sticky alchemy enfolded, we unfold endlessly, masking terrestrial with celestial, crafting an artisanal solution to a metaphysical conundrum. Bandage the skin to keep the soul from slipping out through a paper cut.

Turmoil, confusion, disorder. The problem is cloudy, even if the solution is clear: you show up with bats because they show up with bats. Trouble, unrest, disarray. These stones may be too far a leap; sink into the deep end of the pool. Turbulence, agitation, chaos. Brought athletic gear when you should have brought wings. We joined the riot, let our elemental come alive.

Skulls, they say, can’t smile, but I beg to differ. Look for a gape between the teeth. Grinning peregrine, stranger chasing this accident in paradise: windows and feathers collide. We all reflect our own downfall. Swoop low before you step forward and I shall pass over into the closeness of vacant space.




MA|DE is a collaborative writing partnership comprised of interdisciplinary artist Mark Laliberte (author of asemanticasymmetry, Anstruther Press 2017) and writer Jade Wallace (author of Rituals of Parsing, Anstruther Press 2018). MA|DE is currently working on their first full-length collection; poems have recently appeared in Juniper, Poetry is Dead, PRISM international, Rat’s Ass Review, The Trinity Review, and Vallum, and are forthcoming in Grey Borders Magazine, and Guttural. Test Centre, MA|DE’s debut chapbook, was released by ZED Press in 2019. More info: