Jay Logan Lance teaches and writes in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (USA). He is currently
completing his MFA at National University and is the student editor-in-chief of their
literary magazine, the GNU. He has been published in The New Verse News and the
upcoming print edition of Cactus Heart.


Sometimes the paper mache
of my chicken wire is too wet.
The humidity of life.

My drying time has arrived.
I feel more like the street,
my painted lines ran over
and tracks of yellow blurred
onto my cobblestone.

If you just wait until I'm dry,
for once, I'll hold my form.
But there is the pressure of automobility,
the pressure of gravity's gaseous
concoction, its thin bubbled
veneer over my so many

veinous ways.
I am vain enough to suppose
that I am all the streets,
and all the volcanic art
at so many science fairs.

My counselor said,
"Ah, origami" with the appropriate
elipse and a tapping pencil.
I'm not being folded.

I'm being formed.
Keep newspapers handy
and towels,
buckets of hot water
and turpentine.

I am easily patched.
Men with tar-stained jeans,
women with tar-stained teeth,
slapping repair

With shovels.
This wicked shove.

So the cars back up behind
and the children wipe
their hands on their shirts.
I'm still not dry.
Perhaps it is not important
to be finished.

Pickling Time

Find a lucky friend
whose mother pickles.
What a day to spend
embedding sensation.

The best part,
other than finding a friend,
or recognizing luck,
is to take dry dill
and crush it in your fingers.

You won't forget the vinegar
either. The mother I found
told me it was acetic acid.
She said it would turn cabbage red.

The smell of dill
haunts every hamburger
I've ever eaten. The taste
of kosher salt flakes.

She even used a wooden tub,
baby cukes pushing
to the top. She let
me stick my hand in,

I yearn to feel that crowded sea
again against my hand
and wrist.

I yearn to find any friend
at all. Lucky or not.
I'd crawl into the tub this time.
I'd see if I could float
at pickling time.

in your handsome fear,

and the steaming iron
makes your hand metal
in your fisted grip,

and meddling geese
make your brow down
in your angry eyes,

and dunnish gossip
makes you question her
in your texted tone,

and gossamer wings
make you like to jump
at any closet door.

Carburetor Bends

The inside of a carburetor
is as strange as its spelling,
metal holes disappearing
into shadow bends, mesh

disks in machined four mm
holes, a tiny spring under
a tiny lever holding a steel
needle that nests into a plastic

hole. The choke pivots a thin
disk a quarter turn and controls
breathing. And the magical
silky square gasket that acts

as a black ventricle can become
crusty. Few know you can
buy just this piece, replace
it carefully, and your chain

saw or weed whacker or snow
blower, what have you, will
run again. You can choose
not to know this, but you'll

never realize how planting
a seed or loving is so much
more dangerous, how motor
oil protects your pale skin.

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