Ignatz Oasis

When you have left me
the sky drains of color

like the skin of a tightening fist.

The sun begins
its gold prowl

swatting at tinsel streamers
on the electric fan.

Crouching I hide
in the coolness I had stolen

from the brass rods of your bed.

Ersatz Ignatz

The clockwork saguaros sprout extra faces like planaria stroked by a razor. Chug
say the sparrows, emitting fluffs of steam. Chug chug say the piston-powered
             ground squirrels.

The tumbleweeds circle on retrofitted tracks, but the blue pasteboard welkin is
             much dented by little winds.

The yuccas pulse softly under the grow-light sconces.

Here is the door he will paint on the rock.
Here is the glass floor of the cliff.

He’ll appear in the west, backlit by orange isinglass, pyrite pendants glinting from
             the fringes of his voice.

I-40 Ignatz

The tanker
trucks so

gaily caparisoned:

rows of red and
yellow lights,

o night

of joy
and blitz.

A cop car drowses
in the scrub

cottonwoods. Utmost.

Utmosted. There is
a happy land.

Far, far.

The bleaching fields.
The silica-coated trees.

Some plain

browns. The girl
at the CITGO

station says, Don’t
you come here

all the time?


Monica Youn‘s first book Barter was published by Graywolf Press in 2003, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Paris Review and Fence. She was recently named a Witter Binner Poetry Fellow of the Library of Congress and is counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

At Guernica, we’ve spent the last 15 years producing uncompromising journalism. 

More than 80% of our finances come from readers like you. And we’re constantly working to produce a magazine that deserves you—a magazine that is a platform for ideas fostering justice, equality, and civic action.

If you value Guernica’s role in this era of obfuscation, please donate.

Help us stay in the fight by giving here.