Refraction (The Pleasure of the Text) / Aaron Boothby

a text where we can hear the grain of the throat…delicately granular and vibrant as an animal’s muzzle

 Between croaks of night’s intervals. Rasped water run coarse in the downpour’s churn of pebbles. Stretched into announce. I tasked myself to inhabit the rim. Toes clenched in the fur garment of muscle. Teeth are what remains the living mouth is salival. Guttural as tongues. Scraped to the wall of rock. Far from it now. Poised. Blood root of the word’s hoard distant as star.

It writhes because it inhabits you. Who have no name for it. Who are a name among names. A namer among the named. On a sand shift of what perpetuates. What’s the visual, flayed. The furred metal contains interiors. Glistening a bulb of flesh. The eye torn. Vibratory on a frequency of desert. Shadows are a kind of life. Sound shadows in the rustle of leaves. Eye obliterate to ear.

Was there word for. Before. The polishing machine of meaning. Rot of the sign’s noise. You vibrate beneath saying. An assertion shifts when my tongue tastes my skin. Reduced in qualifiers. Possessed. I tasked myself to refuse possession. Loiter inhabited shadow. It is the salt that is a pleasure. To begin at this animal. Hair of an arm on lips. Sweat of a near stem. Cool drying in breezes.

Dissolute upon the rim. Between brimming guttural choir and celestial. The photograph aches to be a threshold. Shriek out hollows of memory. From a sliced star the seeds of pomegranate one by one. Fingers stained with encounter. Uncleansed. Impure syrup that’s life’s noise. A mouth to wrap around the sweetness of it. Slipping tongue along a memory of blood.

Lunar creatures sniff around the dwelling. I task myself to inhale the smell of passing. Iron radiant. Pine torn past skin by sun. A thrumming you becomes throat I speak an agent. Insects fill the grasses. Thrum storm’s breathing. On a bright edge of a mirror’s burnished rind. A pile of seeds held in an open palm. There are vacancies utterance veils without filling. The term dims the seed’s glow.

The tendril answered an obscuring. A climb flowering into purple trumpets in sun’s rage. Desert’s lack is a matter of time. Dune’s mirror sea’s liquid as granular. How a word could surpass convey. Inhabit itself as animal sensitive to distress. Nerved bloody tongue-torn eye-ravaged hands of a shadow clenched. What would endure in a throat of bliss if rind’s interior sang.

An ear listening for the noise of encounter as tongue grates across skin.


Aaron Boothby is a poet from California now living in Montréal. Work has been published in PRISM, Axolotl, Liminality, and other journals while a chapbook titled Reperspirations, Exhalations, Wrapt Inflections was published in 2016 with Anstruther Press. Website can be found at

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