C O N N O R  F I S H E R

5 poems

THE ISOTOPE OF I

 

When I truly shifts 

and opens a space of 

drunken obstinacy

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 

 

 

 

 

TOTEM

 

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 

of Iceland. 

 

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.

 

 

TULIPS

 

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 

blistered lionfish. 

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.

Text Title

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.