Three Poems

Derek Annis


Condition Stable


If I toss my teeth into the sewage

lightbulb your fist

of yellow glass

if flies maggot the meat toilet

a swarm of fingernails

blacks out the sun and breaks its kneecaps

I will purchase an electric infant


if the stone is red

your thumb has been eaten by a goat

I grind our fingers

to a torch

if the priest opens his mouth

in underwater caves

if the next tree is hollowed out

crop of tongues hung to dry

if the dog barks backwards into a grave


I have eaten wax and the floods

take me

maggots rise to the lake

if we slice off the top of every mountain

the road bends toward sunlight

a moon chews my face

if a seagull swallows a forest

on every rooftop we will carve

our names in our mother

unhinge your jaw and dig







Facts about the Train


Every afternoon

frogs will be boiled

at twelve o’clock     Touching


is prohibited     with the exception


of eggs     The soup cart

will not deliver during moon hour


for fear of searing

Searing is prohibited


Apples cost a nickel

and a bushel


Nickels are free


Bushels cost a dollar

and an apple


If you find the bullet

please return it

to the clown’s mouth


where it can properly



Fire exits can be found

in the flames







Hospitality Mandates for the Modern Host


Fill a bowl with vodka

for your guests

to sanitize their feet


upon entering


seven red pills and a penny


to stay warm

cram a horse

into the furnace     toss mice


through a ring

hanging from the ceiling     fall

and weep


every fifteen minutes     rub sage

under your eyelids     slice

the cushions


pull out the stuffing

from between your ears     shine a spotlight

on the worms


beneath your toenails







DEREK ANNIS is a poet from Spokane, Washington. He holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Gettysburg Review, Missouri Review: Poem of the Week, The Colorado Review, The Account, Crab Creek Review, and Fugue, among others.