C O N N O R F I S H E R
THE ISOTOPE OF I
When I truly shifts
and opens a space of
in the cytoplasm
of dense working masses
When I truly shifts
it crawls to a delicate fern
a delicate swollen
a delicate uncurling
fern in the valley
of god’s straw
And if I changes colors
like the whip caressing
golden backs of horses
until dark blood cascades
across the hair-canvas
then I becomes a continent
fleeced by soft black sand dancing
with coins nailed to its gliding spine
My golden totem, secret as the virgin eyes of red deer, grows
up alone, alone, as alone as if
the virgin eyes of red deer all vanished behind my immense
frieze, my fresco, hollowed for silent rituals.
So I train my totem to
hunch where it can be safe.
I cover it beneath the calloused
feet of my oxidized father.
Just behind my forehead.
It will not be found. It will not
be found. Spinning and delirious,
I’ll lift it up with sticks. I’ll
bury it with handfuls of hair.
Gorged with wine, I clench my totem
between filed teeth. I clench it
between my knees. I yawn with it
nestled under my uvula. Like a snail,
I drag my totem, I treat it with the
coldest contempt. I clean it with
my own blood. I harness
it to me as if it were deranged, as if
it raved and grew the split hooves of
wild goats. I bring it, senselessly, to bed.
My golden totem throbs. It throbs between
my whorls, my two lips. It is my only ancestor.
It simpers in my belly. For it, I
swallow strands of acrylic silk.
My totem will not be found. My mantra speaks to
its ears. My pneuma slackens.
I shake and shake.
I twitch to death.
And my animal mouth roars with laughter.
THE BRUSHSTROKES OF VERTIGO
An Atlantic microbe has harvested the gannets
Trapped beneath a heated polar ceiling
in the swirl of a hydrogen catastrophe
the cataleptic goblin shark aligns its
worn-out fins with the brushstrokes of vertigo.
The moon’s aura precipitates plastics
across a lorikeet cave. Swans dissolve before
the moon’s withdrawal. Their anarchy forms a conal magnet.
Beneath the other continent, mantric chambers fill
with deafening magma. Tardigrades move towards anti-
existence on the timescale of eons. They commune with
ink through a semantics of astrological vapor. They
gyrate with looped fungi while exorbitant fossils,
locked in subducting strata, infect the oceanic crust
with ironic immortality.
The era of agrobiology persists. It bulges our century. It
mesmerizes scenery with a blasphemous dialectic.
A plastic catastrophe hatches a necrotic alchemy.
Are you gently crying?
I’m gently crying.
What color are your tears?
Always red, the color of figs.
Is your body the size of a plum?
My body is a starfish.
My body makes shale; it is soft gypsum.
The flowers are gaping stones.
Have you unfurled yourself
from the ribbons of morning?
The sunset collides with Neptune.
Have you filled your mouth
with bleeding moon drops?
I devoured capsicums
as large as a fist.
From the sea, I hauled a
In a cave above the breakers,
I sheltered from the blast
of the final trumpet.
THE PUMA IN A HALL OF MIRRORS
I will massage my rubber face into a kudzu memorial.
I parade the spectacle of my shattered teeth across Saturn’s rings.
I comb chronic valleys for a lingering delta.
With masks I celebrate the frozen totem of agriculture.
I turn myself into a spotted puma and move across cloud oceans.
With my killer teeth disguised I search for the rhythm of hurricanes.
I distill my frozen tongue until it salivates a Dionysian bullroarer.
Connor Fisher is the author of The Isotope of I (Schism Press, 2021) and four poetry and hybrid chapbooks including Speculative Geography (Greying Ghost Press, 2022). He has an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and English from the University of Georgia. His poetry has appeared in journals including Denver Quarterly, Random Sample Review, Tammy, Tiger Moth Review, and Clade Song. He currently lives and teaches in northern Mississippi.